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Get out there and vote

As the election draws nearer (four weeks and six days), everyone, especially young adults, should remember the importance of voting.

Each election seems to be more and more dependent on the younger generation's vote.

As a newly registered voter, I suddenly realize the impact my vote has. If we simply stand by and do nothing, what good can we do? We have the power to make changes. While those changes may not come directly from us, the people we elect speak for us. Without exercising our right, we are wasting a gift that so many people fought for.

In March 2006 a U.S. Census Bureau report was issued with statistics on the last presidential election. Only 47 percent -- less than half -- of eligible young people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. Only 58 percent of that age group had bothered to register to vote.

Although it seems like 47 percent is a pretty big number, it's really not. When you think about the millions of people between ages 18 and 24, to know that only half of them voted in the most important election in our government is frightening.

We have the ability to decide for ourselves and do what we think is right. But by ignoring this privilege, we are saying that we just don't care. So let's not make this another election with a dismal voter turnout.

It's easy to register to vote, but even easier to actually vote. It takes just a few minutes once a year to vote. It is simply walking into a small booth, pulling a lever then walking back out. That's it.

So why not take the five minutes to fill out the paperwork, then another five minutes to pull a lever? Don't waste the opportunities we have been given.

Although the actual voting process is simple, the complicated part is deciding who to vote for. There are so many different issues to consider, as well as each candidate's view.

With the variety of issues, such as the war in Iraq and gay rights, it can be difficult to decide what issues matter most to each individual. However, each candidate's position must be carefully considered before any decision is made.

And that is where things get tricky. Forget about whose daughter is pregnant or who is lacking in experience. What matters is their view on policy.

I think that sometimes this can scare first-time voters away. Too many issues to handle, too many things to consider. Well, that may be, but those things cannot scare a person.

It's one of those situations where you need to take the bull by the horns and just do it. If you're really confused, I suggest listening to CNN or Fox News. Sometimes those news stations have interesting takes on political issues, although they tend to be a little on the wordy side.

I can't force anyone to go out and vote. I can only encourage. Listen to what is happening and decide what you think is right. Take five minutes and register to vote. You never know, you could be the vote that changes the world.

Meghann Nielsen is a senior at Brocton.

For more information on how to register to vote call 1-800-FOR-VOTE. Teens who will turn 18 by Nov. 4 may register to vote if they file the paperwork by the Oct. 10 deadline. (Mailed registrations must be postmarked before midnight Oct. 10.)

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