Student political leaders spoke Sunday afternoon on the steps of Dwight Chapel, exhorting Yale students to exercise their democratic right to vote in Tuesday’s elections.

Organized by the Ward 1 Democratic Committee, the event featured a series of short statements that emphasized the difference each vote makes as well as the problem of student apathy.

“This campus has so much power,” Ward 1 Alderman Ben Healey ’04 said, endorsing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry over Republican incumbent John Rowland. “[Rowland] doesn’t care about the people in this town because we don’t vote. He doesn’t have to listen to us.”

Andrew Allison ’03, president of the Yale College Council, reminded the estimated 40 onlookers that only through casting ballots can residents ensure the government will act in their best interest.

“If you want a government to work for you, you have to be active in the process,” Allison said. “Our apathy in this election will not protect us from the decisions that will affect us for the rest of our lives. Have a say.”

State Rep. Bill Dyson, D-94th District, offered the crowd a dose of his usual intense oratory and a plea for attention to local politics.

“I don’t care who you vote for,” said Dyson, unopposed in his bid for reelection this year. “Just go out there and vote.”

Calling voting “lonely business,” as a minority of eligible Americans vote, he told Yale students what he expected from them and what their role should be.

“You’re going to be a beacon to all those others who are not remotely interested,” Dyson said. “You have to be an example for them.”

–Brendan Kearney