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The road the White House has been a long one.

Sen. John McCain announced his candidacy for President of the United States on April 25, 2007. Sen. Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the job on Feb. 10 of that year.

The Republican Party held 21 debates between its top candidates during the primary season. The Democrats held 26.

In an attempt to grab voters’ attention, it is expected that the combined cost of the campaigns will reach $2 billion.

Election coverage has dominated news headlines for months (and in some cases, years).

And it all ends in one week. We hope.

But even though this election has proved to be unprecedented with its in-your-face exposure, and even though the establishment of a new direction for our country sits on the table, the young-adult voting bloc —18 to 24-year-olds — is still constantly being questioned.

And for good reason.

In 2004, 125 million people — about 88 percent of registered voters — voted in the presidential election. But 18 to 24-year-old citizens followed the stereotype that says young adults do not have the foresight to care about the future of American politics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the age group had the lowest registration and voter turnout rate in that election.

On the positive side, those numbers were high enough to ensure the age group had the largest increase in voter registration and turnout from 2000 to 2004. And in 2008, an “unprecedented” 6.5 million people under the age of 30 voted in the primaries, according to the U.S. Department of State.

But will that translate to next week’s election? Well, that remains to be seen.

It certainly seems that if any election will draw in the young-adult voting bloc, it will be this one. With the Oval Office and congressional seats (not to mention county and local offices like sheriffs and board members, city and school bonds and overrides and life-altering propositions) up for grabs and poised to make a large impact on the electorate, the usual questions — How will it actually affect me? What does it matter? — will be out the window.

But, as with anything, there’s a big difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

And before 18 to 24-year-olds walk that walk next week, we can’t believe it as anything but talk.

So what’s your job? Spend this week convincing yourself and your friends to prove us wrong.

If you don’t know where your polling place is, find it. If you don’t know where your neighborhood’s early voting locations are, find them. (The Maricopa County Recorder’s Web site,, will readily aid you.)

If not, the same cycles will continue; the apathetic minority in the age group will muffle the voices of the strong majority, the politicians will take the young adults’ lead in not standing up for their own interests and not stand up for them either, and the perception of the next generation will remain one of laziness and lethargy.

How will any of those trends’ holding true solve anything that ails America’s young adults?

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