On Sandy, the election (twice), the NHL lockout, and safe hunting...

Don’t let Sandy disrupt citizens’ right to vote
Hurricane Sandy has taken away many things from those living on the east coast. Could the storm also take away their ability to vote on Election Day? The answer is yes, but something needs to be done in order to keep this from happening. Could you imagine if Minnesota residents were kept from voting because of a major blizzard, or any other “super storm” that could hit the area? Things would get ugly. Many of the polling sites in New Jersey may still be without power come Election Day, forcing the state to search for voting alternatives. Having National Guard members pick up residents in Defense Department trucks with “Vote Here” signs or online voting are some of those alternatives, but even with these, it’ll be difficult to determine the legitimacy and accuracy of these new forms of voting that could be more easily manipulated. Tuesday’s election has the possibility of making history for how close it may be, so yes, every vote counts. If everything goes right, the ability to vote won’t be added to the list of things lost by east coast residents due to Hurricane Sandy. - Katie Davidson, student staff writer

Is this what a free country is like?
With the 2012 Election finally here on Tuesday, you’re probably long past sick of reading, listening or watching things about the election, so this will be real simple: Everyone should be able to agree that, even if your candidates win or lose on Tuesday or the votes go your way or don’t go your way on various constitutional amendments, at least the campaign commercials will stop. It’s been the worst ever, has it not? Since the U.S. Supreme Court made it possible for these so-called Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the candidates of their liking, the advertising has reached an entirely new level of embarrassing. It’s created three tiers of commercials that we can identify fairly clearly: The least embarrassing commercials are usually endorsed by a candidate, the less positive and more embarrassing ones are courtesy of a party’s national committee, and the ones that have you browsing real estate options in Canada are paid for by a Super PAC. Yes, it’s a free country, but is this what we want?

Hunters, be safe out there
Minnesota’s firearm deer hunting opener was barely underway Saturday when avid hunter Don Bixby of Bemidji lost his life to a stray bullet from another hunter's gun. He was standing next to the pickup he drove and hadn't even started his hunt when the bullet struck. Unfortunately, tragedies such as this happen every year during the season. Every year, there is at least one death reported in Minnesota due to an accident during deer hunting season. Not only does one person lose his/her life, but the hunter whose gun fired the fatal shot will have that person's death forever on his/her conscience. These sorts of accidents can always be avoided by following strict safety measures, usually on the part of the shooter but sometimes on the victim's part as well. There is absolutely no acceptable reason for anyone, hunter or innocent bystander, to take a bullet during hunting season.

Something else at stake Tuesday
Two opposing sides will clash Tuesday and a winner will hopefully be chosen. The two sides are battling over money, jobs and much more. Romney who? What about President Obama? No, no, the NHL and NHLPA are set to resume talks Tuesday in the 51-day lockout. Many fans were hoping there was still a chance of a full 82-game season but that has fallen by the wayside. The popular Winter Classic has even been cancelled and many are convinced this lockout will wipe out the entire season, maybe more. This is the third lockout of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's run of nearly 20 years as commissioner. Who wants a shortened NHL season, though? Any team that won the Stanley Cup wouldn't be viewed as a true Stanley Cup winner. So, come to an agreement this week, NHL and NHLPA. Come to an agreement that lasts forever because these lockouts only hurt the fans.

’Tis the season...already?
It's November, and you know what that means: Christmas advertising has begun. Hurry up and buy your presents! Starting the day after Halloween is a little ridiculous. Maybe start advertising in mid-November. But that really isn't the main "issue" when discussing Christmas. It's how early the seasonal music is played on radios. These days, Christmas music can be heard as early as the week of Thanksgiving and by the time the actual week of Christmas rolls around, everyone is sick of it. Even though it's unlikely, it would just be nice if the stations would hold off on it until the week after. Better yet, mix in the holiday music with regular tunes. That way, people won't get tired of hearing the same thing over and over and over. If they want to play nothing but straight Christmas tunes, they can do that in the final stretch leading up to December 25. It’s likely no one would object to that. – Amanda Wagner, Times’ intern