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Young people need to become informed on the issues and vote

August 07, 2003

Dear Editor:

How often have you heard people say, "Why should I bother to vote? Does my vote count? It is not likely that there is going to be a tie and my vote will be the deciding vote. The same people will win whether I vote or not. So why should I vote?" For many young voters today, such attitudes are, unfortunately, why so many young American voters choose not to vote.

Though the government does not know for whom each individual cast their ballot, it does know whether or not you voted. They track information for statistical purposes to determine how many young people are voting as compared to other age groups. According to the United States Federal Election Commission, only 22 percent of registered voters between the ages of 18-25 actually voted in one of the closest presidential elections in recent history in 2000 between Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush Jr. Even more revealing, according to the Kentucky Board of Elections, during the most recent primary election in Kentucky only 18 of registered voters actually went to the polls and voted, of which only four percent actually came from voters between the ages of 18-25.

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What does this all mean? It is simple. It is time for the generation of tomorrow to stand up today and take an active roll in what is happening in city, county, state, and national elections. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent it is time to start caring about what happens now and how things will affect your future. Take the current race for the next governor of Kentucky, for example. With the economy struggling, key issues like education, prescription drug coverage, tobacco/farming, Medicare, taxes, and employment/unemployment are just a few of the issues, we as Kentuckians, young and old, need to address. Our future depends upon the choices we make today.

However, just reciting the names of the issues is not enough. Younger voters need to start learning about their impact on the future as well. Statistics have shown that if a person reads one newspaper daily or watches just thirty minutes of the evening local news, they will gain a better understanding of the issues being discussed and how each candidate feels about them. I am not saying that one needs to consume themselves in politics, but what needs to happen is more young voters need to step up and care about what is going on because the issues and decisions that are being discussed today will eventually affect our future and the future of generations to follow.

The fundamentals of the election process are derived from the very roots of this nation. We must each take personal responsibility and become involved in the process. Young voters must seize the opportunity to have their voices heard. During the recent Fancy Farm Picnic held in Graves County this past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend and partake in a political event that has been around for 123 years. Although, the speakers and atmosphere were exciting, I was disappointed that just a very small gathering of younger voters actually attended the picnic. Remember don't stop thinking about tomorrow; it'll soon be here!

Charles Patrick II

Harrodsburg

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