Feel free to download and use this fabulous poster (created by Christopher Walton)
...It doesn't make a difference...I'm not registered to vote...I don't have enough information...There isn't enough time...No one listens to me...Elected officials don't care about what I care about...

These are some of the reasons why young people don't vote. But most young people don't vote because they think no one is listening. (Click here for more reasons)

The truth is, though, that nobody listens because young people don't vote.

If you think you are making a statement by not voting, you are not. The real revolution occurs when you do vote. Either you are part of the process that determine who makes the decisions that affect your lives (i.e. who runs your country) or you suffer the consequences of the choices of others.

Why You Should Vote, or, "I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!"

The percentage of 18-24 year olds (36%) who voted in the 2000 Presidential race was by far lower than any other age group. Presidential campaigns focus on voters who will have a reliable voter turnout at the polls, and voters who will be likely to turnout and vote for a particular candidate.

So, you can see why many candidates don't "pay attention" to your demographic. You are simply not reliable voters, and quite frankly don't have significant amounts of money to contribute to campaigns.

Now is the time to change this perception. With close to 24 million young people in the United States, you as a group CAN mobilize, decide to vote, and make a significant difference.

So, send a powerful message to Washington. If you and your friends vote, politicans will get the message that young people ARE passionate and WILL hold them accountable for the decisions they make.

A significantly increased large young adult voter turnout will help drive politicians to seriously consider young people as vital constituents. And in doing so, they will be forced to answer your questions and fight for your endorsement. They will simply be more interested in who you are and what you have to say.

Voting will make politicians more interested in your ideas, opinions and concerns. If you do not like decisions that are made for you by our elected officials, then it is up to you, and only you, to take care of it.

Why Your Vote Counts, or, "ONE VOTE, DUDE!"..."SWEET!!!"

One vote can make a difference.  Many voters, together deciding they will make a difference, can change an election.  In fact, many elections local, state, and even presidential are decided by a handful of votes.  By voting you are making your voice and your opinions heard.  Not voting ensures that your views wont matter to elected officials.  Be a patriot, take pride in being a good citizen, take part in our democracy.  Encourage people who dont think their vote matters to ask a friend who does vote why they make that effort for our country.

Before the 2000 presidential elections, one could argue that your vote may not help break a potential tie. Well, because of the close popular and electoral votes from last election, we have true evidence that votes CAN make or break the results.

If more young people went to the polls in 2000, the results from the elections would have been significantly different. It may have made it more of a clear win for President Bush, OR it may have tilted the electoral votes in Gore's favor. With another close race expected in 2004, it is vital that more young adults vote.

And consider this, if voting doesn't matter why have past power brokers tried to keep various minority groups (i.e. women, african-americans) from obtaining the right to vote? And why is it one of the first rights taken away once you are convicted of felony?

Young Adults Policy Issues (courtesy of the 18 to 35 Project)

Health care. Higher education financing. Unemployment. A Draft?!?! These are among the topics that are important to you if you're between the ages of 18 to 35 year-olds. Yet you are rarely included in the related policy-setting deliberations. In response, many of you stay away from the electoral and policymaking processes, because you do not feel that you make a difference.
Here are the current Hot Button Issues (You do have opinions regarding these issues, don't you? Yeah, that's what we thought.): Abortion Rights, Budgetary, Spending and Tax Issues, Campaign Finance and Government Reform Issues, Crime, Separation of Church and State, Education, Employment and Affirmative Action, Environment and Energy, Gay and Homosexual Rights (Civil Liberties), Gun Control, Healthcare, Immigration, International Aid, International and Trade Policies, National Security, Social Security, Technology and Communications, War in Iraq, Welfare and Poverty.
Struggling with finances?
Young adults do not have a positive outlook for the economy (CNN/USA Today/Gallup, 2003). They are most concerned about losing their job, paying their bills, having money for emergencies, and rising health care costs (Battleground 2004 Poll, Harris Interactive Poll of Daily Hassles, 2003). There's reality behind these perceptions:

Young adult unemployment rates are twice as high as those of older adults.
The top growing job sectors are the retail and temporary sectors.
There is an 18% wage gap between jobs lost since 2001 and new jobs.
Wages for younger women (16-24 year-olds) have declined by 3.1% over the past year (wages increased by 4.9% for their male counterparts).
Health Care

Approximately 30% of young adults are uninsured, the largest percentage of uninsured across any age group (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2001).
The fastest growing job sectors (i.e., temporary and retail) do not typically provide health benefits.
Only 59% of full-time 19-29 year-old workers have employer-based health plans, compared to 70% of older adults (Commonwealth Fund, 2000).
The public pays 85% of the $35-38 billion in unpaid health care costs incurred by the uninsured across all agesInstitute of Medicine Report, March, 2003).
Therefore, finding a way to provide affordable health care for young adults is a national concern.
Higher education - an important factor in finding a job (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002)

All but two of the 50 highest paying occupations require a college degree.
The minimum level of education for above average employment chances is a postsecondary vocational degree or certificate.
College costs continue to rise (The College Board, 2003).

Public colleges: the average published price (tuition, room and board) has risen over the past 10 years from $7,813 to $10,636.
Private colleges: the average price has risen over the past 10 years from $18,866 to $26,854.
Incomes of low-income families have not kept up with college costs (The College Board, 2003).

For low-income families, one year of college equals:
   1. 70% of yearly income for public college (up from 40% in 1976-1977)
   2. 180% of yearly income for private college (up from 80% in 1976-1977)
Meanwhile, for the highest income families, yearly income has kept pace:
  1. Approximately 5% of yearly income for public college (remaining stable)
  2. Approximately 17% of yearly income for private college (up from 10% in 1976-1977).
National Student Loan Survey

Poll Conducted By: Nellie Mae Date Conducted: 2002
Poll Sample: National survey of 1,280 student loan borrowers in repayment 35 years old and younger with at least one federal loan. Margin of Error: N/A
http://www.nelliemae.com
Financial aid makes college more affordable, but loans now far outweigh grants (The College Board, 2003).

After factoring in grant-aid, net college costs have risen $1,500 for public schools and $4,000 for private schools over the past 10 years
Total aid per full-time student was $9,099 in 2002, up 114% from 1992.
Grants comprise 40% of total aid, down from 51% in 1992
Loans comprise 54% of aid, up from 47% in 1992
Work-study income and tax credits comprise the remaining 6% of total aid.
Pell Grants cover only 25% of public and 10% of private college costs, down from 45% and 25%, respectively, in 1974-1975
Reframing the higher education finance debate: Debt burden, not just college access (Nellie Mae, 2002).
Education debt burden (income/debt) of 8% or less is considered manageable.
34% of education loan borrowers have debt burdens ranging from 9% to 20%
11% of borrowers have debt burdens of 20% or more.
Graduate students have an average debt burden of 13.5% (JD's and MD's average 18.2%)
Law students list debt burden as the primary reason for not entering public service (Partnership for Public Service, 2003).
Numerous others with undergraduate and graduate degrees forgo lower paying public sector and non-profit jobs because of their need to repay loans.
62% of Pell recipients (and 50% of non-Pell recipients) report that they would borrow less if they did it over.
Military decisions uniquely affect young adults (DOD Demographics Report, 2001).
Nearly 80% of military personnel are 35 or younger.
70% of enlisted personnel (i.e., those doing the fighting) are 30 or younger, 83% are 35 or younger.
Many of enlisted personnel leave families behind (average age of married enlisted is 31, but 28 for Marines).
A majority of young adults agree that President Bush made the right decision to use military force in Iraq and believe that the military action is going well. (CNN/USA Today/Gallup, 2003; 2004 Political Landscape Poll, 2003)
However, many disagree that military strength is the best route to peace. (2004 Political Landscape Poll, 2003)
Everyone tells young adults to save for the future... But how????Consider the following scenario for a recent graduate from a private college who moves to DC: Job paying $24,000 (median first-year salary for Pell Grant recipient)
Monthly take-home of approximately $1,340 - assuming that no money has been taken out for health insurance or retirement
Education debt of $18,400 (the median for borrowers) at 5% interest paid over 10 years
Monthly payment of $195.16.
Credit card debt of $5,000 at 18% interest rate accumulated while in college
Average monthly payment of $118 (based on 2.5% minimum payment).
Conservative cost-of-living expenses of $1,050 (includes rent in a group house, commuting costs, car insurance, utility bills and groceries)
Before this individual has paid for health insurance, paid for any entertainment (even a movie rental), or saved for an emergency or retirement (and assuming the car is fully paid-off), this recent college graduate will have a monthly debt of approximately $23.