A Privilege and Not a Right

             Although I initially decided to volunteer my services strictly for extra credit, I actually enjoyed the experience of polling voters. Our designated precinct was at a residence located in a pretty wealthy neighborhood, south of Ventura Blvd., in Encino. BMW's and Benz's pulled up one after the other during the four hours of our morning shift (7am-11am). The precinct inspector was very accommodating, even offering us lunch after we were done. She told us that this was the first time in her 29 years of polling that her precinct was being used for exit polling. Most of the voters that we approached were affable even when it was obvious that they were rushing to work. Some voters even took the initiative to approach us to ask what we were all about. Most of them were aware of exit polls but had never participated in one. I would estimate that the majority of the voters that we polled were over the age of 40 and I'm guessing there were around five voters between the ages 30 and 40. We didn't see any voters who looked under the age of 25. .

             This absence of college age voters disturbed me. The majority of eligible voters in my age group (18-25) are alarmingly apathetic towards the political process. College students seem to care more about Brittany Spears' breasts than they do about these past elections. Most aren't even registered to vote and those that are seem to put it on the back burner. .

             Some of my close friends have gone to hell and back in dealing with the INS in hopes of gaining legal residence in this country. After witnessing my friends wading through all that red tape, I've realized that a lot of us have taken our American citizenship and the privileges that come along with it for granted. There are people who have gone through unthinkable hardships to get to this country and obtain what they could not have in their home countries. A voice. That's what our votes are.

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