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Get out there and Vote!
The right to vote for the leaders of our state and nation is a freedom that separates our country from so many others in the world. In order for democracy to work in America, people must exercise this privilege.
Voting is a way to have a voice in our government. Whether you want to ensure that your children receive the best education; or that you will collect your social security benefits upon retirement; or that your taxes will support research for life-threatening diseases; our leaders, whether it be your local mayor or the President, make decisions that affect your life.
Yet, the small percentage of Americans that exercise their right to vote is startling. Voter turnout has dramatically decreased during the past 25 years, especially among our country's youth:
 During the past 25 years, the total voting population has decreased from 63% to 54% of Americans. This means that only about one half of those that are eligible to vote, actually vote in elections.
 The largest group of non-voters in the U.S. is comprised of 18-24 year olds. During the past 25 years, this group experienced an 18% decrease and, today, only 32% of young people get out and vote.
 The 1996 presidential election produced the lowest voter turnout recorded since the government started collecting data in 1948.
Why don't people vote? Many people say that it's because they don't think it will matter. Imagine if everyone felt that way - we could never elect a president or a congressman. There have been many, many elections, locally and nationally, that have been decided by less than 100 votes.
1776 - One vote gave America the English language instead of German
1845 - One vote brought Texas into the Union
1868 - One vote allowed Andrew Johnson to escape impeachment
1920 - The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave women the right to vote
1923 - One vote elected Adolf Hitler to the Nazi party
1960 - One vote elected JFK to the White House
Some people don't vote because they do not know much about politics or they feel that all candidates are the same. Take the time and learn about your elected officials. When you are unhappy with the condition of your town's roads or your state taxes, knowing your elected officials will help you voice your complaints.
Others don't want to deal with the crowded voting areas, or they think they don't have the time. If this sounds like you, request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Whether your excuse for not voting is apathy or inconvenience, voting is a privilege that many of us take for granted. The next time you neglect to vote, imagine how you would feel if you didn't have a choice - to elect a president, or choose a job, or decide how to raise your family. If voting to improve your own life is not enough of a reason to register in upcoming elections, vote to improve the lives of your children and their children.
Online Resources:
Visit registerandvote2004.org to find out more about the candidates and the issues.
For a variety of tips and resources for registering to vote, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site.
Greg
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/copcars2/
 
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