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Voters' Ed - April 6 2006 The New York Times Op-Ed...

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April 6, 2006 The New York Times Op-Ed Contributors Voters' Ed By JOHN B. ANDERSON and RAY MARTINEZ III Washington HIGH school seniors already have a lot on their minds: SAT's, college acceptance letters, job applications. But our democracy should demand something else of these 18-year-olds: that they prepare to cast their first-ever vote in this fall's Congressional elections. Unfortunately, all too many young people will graduate from high school without registering to vote and without even taking a class on the basics of voting. We need a new "leave no voter behind" policy. There is precedent for us to build on. In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, which promoted voter registration at motor vehicle and social service agencies. A recent survey by the federal Election Assistance Commission measured steady increases in voter registration since passage of the law. Still, only 72 percent of eligible citizens were registered to vote in 2004, according to the Census Bureau. And the registration rate among 18- to 24-year-olds was a dismal 58 percent, which
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