November 6 is about three weeks away – are you ready for it?

If at this exact moment you are asking yourself, what is on November 6, then you’re probably somewhere between 18 and 24 years old (give or take a few years) and have your G.E.D and/or some college education. Now the answer to this new question you are now asking yourself is no, I’m not psychic; I’m just informed. The statistics are there for everyone to see, males and females between the ages of 18 and 24 have the lowest voter turn-out (2012 U.S. Census). As the amount of money you make and the amount of schooling you have increases, usually so does that percentage. But let’s face it, if your 18-24, money and school are constant struggles. As a 23 year old finally finishing my bachelor’s degree, while working part-time at a minimum wage job, I can vouch for that.

We are all constantly bombarded by people telling us to vote. Whether it’s spam emails about rocking the vote or commercials on the radio, the idea of getting involved is being shoved in our faces- but there is a method to the madness. While about 50% of young adults don’t vote, 100% of them rant and rave about political issues (if you don’t believe me, check your Facebook Newsfeed). How can you complain about something that you take no part in attempting to change? With social networks at our fingertips, I cannot help but notice how many young people have SO much to say about important issues but neglect to act on them. Now if you are reading this as someone who stays informed and votes, I tip my hat to you. But for those of you who don’t, I pose a question: What is your stance on taxes, human trafficking, the death penalty and genetically engineered food? Sure everyone knows that on November 6 we will be voting for the next president of the United States, but did you know you’d be voting on those topics as well?

Proposition 30 “Jerry Brown’s Tax Increase”:  Increases taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and sales tax by ¼ cent for four years, to fund schools. The fiscal impact is about $6 billion annually over the next few years. Revenue will be available for funding the state budget.

Proposition 34 “End the Death Penalty”: Repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to existing death sentences. Directs $100 million to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases.

Proposition 35 “Prohibition of Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery”:  Increases prison sentences and fines for human trafficking convictions. Requires convicted human traffickers to register as sex offenders. Requires sex offenders to disclose internet activities and identities.

Proposition 37 “Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods”:  Requires labeling of food sold to consumers made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specific ways. Prohibits marketing such food, or other processed food, as “natural”. Provides exemptions.

Let me be clear: I am not persuading you to vote one way or another; I am encouraging you to get involved. This information as well as all the other propositions and candidates are easily available to you, you just need to take the time to look. What’s interesting this year is that being able to vote is becoming much more difficult. So, if you have moved since the last time you voted or you are not yet registered to vote, you have the option this year of doing it online (hurry, the deadline is OCTOBER 22). Within five minutes, you can easily register or update existing registrations.

So let the ticking time bomb begin- 3 weeks until the 2012 elections and 8 days until you can no longer register to vote. Young people get bad raps- we’re ignorant, naïve and reckless. Prove that stereotype wrong. I want you to take charge. I want you– to be heard.

For 2012 ballot information click here & to register to vote online click here

Words Rica Douglas

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