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The Issues that have our Vote

REGISTER TO VOTE

November 2nd is coming up …. have you registered to vote?
If you are not registered to vote yet, time is running out. Registration closes 29 days before the election, which means your last day to register
to vote is October 4th.

Wanna know where you can vote? Check out these websites:
www.rockthevote.com
www.declareyourself.com
www.yourvotematters.org/ala
www.electionimpact.com
www.doubleyourvote.com

You can also vote at all
Ben & Jerry’s locations as well
as all public libraries.
For an added perk, go to www.benjerry.com and take an oath to vote. You could win an iMac, an Ipod and a trip to Vermont – just for your promise to vote.

By: Liana Ponce

It will be a close race in November and your vote matters in this presidential election.

The 20 million strong youth vote, those of us between 18 and 30 year olds, could be crucial in this election, which many believe will be as close as it was four years ago, when George W. Bush won by just 537 votes.

In Florida, a key swing state, 18 to 34 year-olds make up about 20% of the population.

So, what exactly are these 20 million eligible young voters thinking about when they are deciding which way to vote?
The number one issue for young people in this election is the creation of new, well paying jobs, according to an article on Business Wire.

“I think this is an extremely important issue we face as Americans today. The monetary gap between the rich and poor is increasing every day and more and more low-level jobs are being produced,” Melissa Ortiz, 18, said.

Young adults have good reason to be pessimistic about the economy, and here’s why: The unemployment rates for young people are double those of older adults. Also, the top growing jobs are retail and temporary jobs. Those jobs do not usually come with benefits, which is why about 30% of young adults are not insured, according to the non-partisan organization 18to35.

At same time, college tuition increases every year and students hope they are able to get jobs that can pay off their debts and allow them to live comfortably.

“I don’t want to be paying loans off until I’m 50,” Jessica Prucnal, 20, said. Prucnal is a junior at New York University.

According to the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, tuition for both private and public schools has increased more than 40% over the past 10 years.

“I would like to see a rise in the minimum wage and as well as more job programs that can provide training for those who want to move up the ladder,” said Ortiz, a University of Miami student.

But young voters are affected by American policies abroad as well.

Therefore, a major issue in this election deals with foreign policy and the war on terror. This issue is especially salient for younger voters since 70% of enlisted personnel are 30 years old or younger, according 18to35.

“The situation in [Iraq] is about as messed up as it could be, the middle eastern sentiments on the U.S. are deteriorating daily and I would like to see the president who would attempt to fix these problems and help Iraq reconstruct,” Ortiz said.

Reinstatement of the draft is a valid concern, despite repeated statements by the Bush administration that it will not happen.

“I’m starting to feel it’s [the war in Iraq] pretty wrong. I think it will affect me because I’m that age that I could get drafted. They are already calling to duty people who recently got out of active service so they’re running low on troops,” said Gannon Yehle, 18.

There are currently bills in both branches of Congress (Senate bill S.89 and House bill HR.163) that would bring back the draft if they are passed, but they would include women and exclude the use of college as an exemption in the draft.
For Yehle’s older sister, there are other important gender-related issues, like women’s rights.

“I guess I’m most concerned about abortion rights. Right now I think our right to choose is in danger and once that right is taken away, who knows what will be next,” said Emily Yehle, 20.

The Bush administration’s ban on partial birth abortions and limits on stem cell research could bring more young women out to the polls.

“While a lot of attention has been focused on the Iraqi war, and rightfully so, we need to wake up and realize what is happening in terms of reproductive rights,” Catherine Miner-Le Grand, 20, said.

There are many organizations, like 18to35, that strive to motivate young voters. Rock the Vote, the Smackdown Your Vote, and MTV’s Choose or Lose. To read the responses and proposed solutions of the two candidates to these issues and more, visit the organizations’ websites.

This election is shaping up to be a dead heat and Florida could go either Republican or Democrat. Many of the important issues in November affect young adults.

So wherever you fall on the political spectrum, get out and vote on November 2nd and be an informed voter.


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0 0 17 01 September, 2004 National, News September 1, 2004

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