For Tufts and other schools in Massachusetts, today’s start of the academic year coincides with a primary election for state and federal offices. The campaigns have made some effort at persuasion but most focus is on mobilization:  recent elections have been decided mainly by turnout, by which people invest the time and effort needed to vote.  This morning I’ll walk to my polling place before going in to the office but most Americans don’t have that luxury. Differences in turnout arise precisely because people face very different barriers to voting, which itself is one of the most important questions in American politics.

Starting the school year with an election seems fitting.  I teach at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, where much of the agenda concerns what governments do.  And in education, like politics, enthusiasm matters. It takes effort to get involved — so thank you for showing up, at Tufts or other schools.  And if you’re lucky enough to have elections this academic year, thank you for voting.


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