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College students need to vote

Who will you vote for today? According to the 2000 U.S. Census, if you’re 18 to 24 years old, you aren’t likely to vote at all. Obviously, that’s not good. The need to vote is tremendous, especially as a college student, because we can’t knowingly let others control our futures. Things in this world are changing, and we will be left in the dust, unless we make ourselves heard. And we can’t do that unless we vote.

In the 1998 mid-term elections, only 12 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and only 8.5 percent of 18 to 19 year olds voted. Things didn’t improve in the 2000 presidential election. Why is this? Do college students collectively not care about the nation’s political structure, or do they just have nothing to say?

According to research by the Pew Charitable trust, college students are volunteering in their communities more than ever, so clearly, we can’t be a totally apathetic group.

It’s also hard to believe with all the protests that have been going on at USF recently, that we have nothing to say. For example, Amendment 11 could make a big change in university infrastructures as well as determine certain measures concerning faculty contracts in January, something very important as far as your education is concerned. That’s just one of hundreds of issues that this and every other election could affect. Surely we deserve to have a say in what happens in our own lives.

Many college students might feel that they are being ignored in politics. Indeed, a Harvard University study found that 83.5 percent of 18 to 24 year olds were never contacted by any political party during the 2000 elections, but that shouldn’t deter you from taking advantage of the right to vote. If you want more attention from the major political candidates, make sure the nation knows that college students can be counted on to make informed political decisions.

You should all vote today and encourage others to vote, aw well. The polls are open until 7p.m. That’s plenty of time for each of us to do our part in changing the face of American politics.