Never too young to make difference |

Never too young to make difference

Rock The Vote reported that the 17- to 29-year-old voter turnout at the Iowa caucuses almost doubled from 9 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2004 and was 2 percent higher than 30- to 44-year-olds. Young voters also favored Kerry, with 35 percent supporting him, while 25 percent went for Edwards, 20 percent for Dean, and 11 percent for Congressman Gephardt.

“This is a very impressive start for the downloading, text messaging, Daily Show watching, I-pod-loving new school of voters,” exclaimed Jehmu Greene, president of Rock The Vote. “The numbers coming out of Iowa are very encouraging. The results go to show that this new generation of voters is a powerful bloc and has the potential of having a significant impact in November.”

Less than 50 percent of 18- to 24-year olds registered to vote in 2000 and only 32.3 percent actually voted in the last presidential election. The goal this election year is to increase registration of 18- to 30-year-olds from 18 million to 20 million. To accomplish this and address the issues of concern to youth, we need young people to take an active leadership role in local Rock The Vote Street Teams and get involved.

You are never too young! 14-year-olds can raise the level of debate on issues at school, at home and with their friends. Ten-year-olds studying the American Revolution can challenge parents to vote. Nineteen-year-old Marcus Molinara was elected mayor of Tivoli, N.Y.; Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee was only 26 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; and the International Student Activism Alliance has succeeded in getting high school students elected to state boards of education.

Five out of 6 of us will be victims of a violent crime at least once in our lives. Fifty-one cents of every dollar spent by the federal government goes to the military, while only 6 cents goes to education. Nine out of 10 people worldwide who are infected with HIV do not know. Only one half of the teenagers in the United States use condoms. Hate crimes increased almost 60 percent between 1991 and 1997. Women earn 74 cents for every $1 earned by men. Eighty-five percent of the forests that existed in the United States 200 years ago are gone forever.

Use your power to Rock The Vote every day: Get informed, be a watchdog, volunteer, petition, lobby, protest, testify, campaign, vote, run for office, get media coverage, show up and use your voice!

Progressive, nonprofit, nonpartisan Rock The Vote is dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and helping young people to realize and utilize their power to effect change. If you are a U.S. citizen and will be 18 years old by election day, come with your driver’s license and the last four digits of your Social Security number to register at our Rock The Vote booth at the X Games Jan. 25-27. For more info check out:; local contact Tricia:; 618-5475.

Tricia McKenzie

Rock The Vote organizer



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