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The Mesa Press

Don’t elect laziness, choose to have a voice

With the fall season under way, there are many things that we have to look forward to. The weather is finally starting to cool down, surf conditions are improving, and football season is in full swing. But perhaps the event that is most anticipated this year is of course the 2006 mid-term elections.

The elections in November. That’s what everyone is looking forward to this year, right? I mean, it’s the day that we’ve all been waiting so excitedly for since the time we filled out those little registration cards isn’t it? With what’s-his-face in a tight election race against that other guy, debating some kind of issue.

Not all that thrilled about casting your vote in November? Well, if you’re a young adult in this country, you’re not alone.

It’s a sad fact but it’s true. For us young adults, voting in elections just doesn’t seem to fit into our schedules.

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According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, in the 2002 congressional elections, 42.5 million people between the ages of 21 and 24 registered to vote. But once November rolled around, only 18.7 million of these people actually cast a ballot.

So why is it that when election time comes around, we seem to turn our heads the other way? Is it that we don’t care about the issues that are being debated? Or maybe it’s that we’re simply uninformed about what the issues are, and what each candidate stands for. And maybe it’s just the fact that we would like to be informed, but we just don’t have the time to look up each candidate’s campaign platform or research each proposition that’s on the ballot. Or maybe we’re just too lazy to do so.

As a young adult, I can tell you that the problem is all of these. I don’t vote because I’m not informed on any of the issues. And to be honest, I really don’t care. Between school and work, I don’t have the time to research any of the campaign issues, and if I did have the time, I could think of a thousand other ways to spend it.

But the main problem I have with voting is that I feel like my vote is not going to make a difference.

It seems like every other year, whether the country is voting for a president or for the state governor or a district representative, we have all these candidates that are filling our heads with all these amazing reforms. They use elaborate political language while trying to convince us of how much better our lives will be if we cast our vote for them. And so we do, and they move into office, we don’t hear from them, and our lives really don’t seem to change that much, and we never check to see if they’re even doing what they promised us they would do.

And, is it even worth mentioning that it seems like every other week another House or Senate member is resigning because of some type of scandal?

The simple fact is this: the only way to bring about any change is to become informed on the issues and exercise our right to vote.

Voting for president or even governor is basically pointless. Whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican who wins the election, the amount of reform that you see is minimal, if any at all.

But once you start getting down to the lower level offices, such as the Senate or Representative elections, then it becomes a little more personal. The people who are running for these offices, especially the House of Representatives, are often people from your own community such as Francine Busby, a Democrat, who is running for the House of Representatives this November against Brian Bilbray, a Republican who is up for re-election. Both are from San Diego and both have political histories in the county. If we would just take the time to find out more about these candidates, we could make a conscious effort to elect a representative that will keep our community’s best interests in mind. At least we hope that would be the case.

Our best opportunity to make a difference is to vote on the California propositions. These are the proposed reforms that may affect our lives the most. For example, Proposition 86 calls for tax increase for cigarettes. If it passes, cigarette prices would increase by almost $3, but the revenue generated by the state from this tax would provide funding for hospitals, nursing education and tobacco prevention programs. The outcome of this proposition would have a large impact on the smoking population. Is this something that concerns you? Or Proposition 87, which would establish a $4 billion program that would be used to research alternative energy sources for our state. That could mean a possible break in gas prices and electricity bills. Wouldn’t that be an issue worth looking into?

With the elections just around the corner, I understand that most of the young adult population could care less. But a little time spent investigating the main points of a representative’s campaign, or at least reading the summaries of the 13 propositions, can help you make an educated vote. Don’t be lazy when it comes to having an opinion. You may feel like you can’t make much of a difference, but not voting at all is just surrendering your right to have a voice in politics.

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