Obama carried the majority of the youth votes during the 2008 general elections in what was considered the largest turnout of youth at the polls in history. An estimated 22 to 24 million youth voted in 2008. ANTHONY BRADY | Scroll Illustration

With the 2012 presidential election inching closer and closer, as students and young people, our opportunity to change the course of our future is growing.
There are 44 million eligible young voters this election season, according to www.rockthevote.com. As young people, we may forget that we hold a lot of power in those 44 million votes.
According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, the overall general interest in the election is down from what it was four years ago at this point in the campaign, with the most noticeable decline in interest among younger Americans. It is down 65 percent, with just 48 percent of young voters under 30 giving a lot of thought to the election. And only 18 percent say they are following election news closely.
With the economy and jobs being top issues this election season, one would think that more young voters, especially college students, would choose to vote to better ensure their future.
Students from 25 journalism and political programs across the country went out and recorded their peers talking about what issues matter most to them during this election, according to a PBS NewsHour article by Imani M. Cheers. The consensus was that the majority of youth questioned seemed to be most concerned with finding jobs, people coming together to solve issues and making the political system better.
So there are young people who care about their futures. But only 18 percent. What about the other 82 percent?
It is possible to assume that many young people have no interest in the election or in voting, but with America’s government and future hanging in the balance, this should not be an option.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both plan to stimulate the economy by strengthening the middle class.
“I am running for president to help create a better future,” Romney said during his speech at the Republican National Convention. “A future where everyone who wants a job can find a job, where no senior fears for the security of their retirement, an America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads to a good job and a bright horizon, and unlike the president, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs.”
Romney then explained his five steps to carry out his plan: make America energy independent, give Americans the skills they need, make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements, cut the deficit and champion small business.
According to Obama’s campaign website, he wants to grow the economy from the middle class out, spur states to raise classroom standards and reform student loans, cut oil imports in half by 2020, invest in clean, American-made energy and expand opportunity for Americans through equal pay for equal work.
“And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country — goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation,” Obama said during his speech at the Democratic National Convention. “That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.”
The future of our great and free country is in our hands and we have the opportunity to choose which plan we think is best.
We are lucky to have such unalienable rights given to us by our founding fathers. We need to exercise those rights and be true American citizens. Not voting is not an option.