Ryan Chartrand

If you’re reading this, odds are that you’re 18. Guess what you can do if you’re 18? OK, besides buy porn and lottery tickets and join the military. Yep – you can register to vote. Everyone knows this, so why doesn’t everyone do it?

It’s not like it’s hard: one little form online and you’re registered. I harass my friends when they don’t and they give some lame excuse like “I don’t want to get jury duty.” Come on – are you willing to give up your chance to have a say in public affairs for that?

The 18 to 24 age group had the lowest registration and voting rate in the 2004 presidential election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only 58 percent were registered to vote, and of them, only 47 percent voted.

Sure, we youngsters may not worry as much about health care or insurance as our parents do, but there are plenty of relevant issues for our generation. No one is opinion-less on things like the war in Iraq, reproductive rights or education.

Think about what we could do as young people with a fresh perspective if we all voted. Candidates like Barack Obama with a strong support base among college students would see the support in the results of the election, not just in the rallies beforehand.

Many of the 2008 presidential candidates have Facebook and MySpace accounts, attempting to appeal to a younger crowd. Obama’s Facebook profile boasts 150,798 supporters and his Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack) group has more than 350,000 members. Imagine if every single one of them voted.

There are organizations that want to make this process easy for you. Rock the Vote, an organization that champions political power for young people, has an easy link to an online voter registration form. It also has lots of information about the candidates and issues, since “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” can’t cover everything.

There’s plenty of arguing about politics between friends, political rivals and even Mustang Daily columnists, but there’s a big difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

Political banter is all well and good, but voting is every person’s way of enacting change. And after seven years of the Bush presidency, change is inevitable. The next president will have to forge new relationships with all the world leaders that the current administration has alienated and we all have a stake in that.

The presidential primaries are in February, which leaves plenty of time to get registered and informed on the candidates and issues. You can register in San Luis Obispo County or your hometown. If the polls intimidate you, voting absentee is an easy way to take your time filling out the ballot.

Remember, the sexiest thing you can wear is an “I Voted” sticker.

Giana Magnoli is a journalism junior and a reporter for the Mustang Daily.

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