Now that the Presidential conventions of both major parties have concluded, there are two months before Election Day.  We’ll have speeches throughout the country, media coverage, and public polls up to the final exit polls during Election Day.  For voters whose minds are made up, the coverage is probably overwhelming.  For undecided voters, the coverage is helpful until the point where they have determined for whom they’re voting.

Stepping back from the candidates and their platforms, the bigger issue is voting.  In the 2004 Presidential election, 125,736,000 people voted.  That represented 58.3 percent of the voting age population.  The turnout varies among demographic categories.  Age matters.  The lowest turnout was the 18-24 age bracket at 41.9 percent.  From 45 and up, the lowest turnout was 66.6 percent with the 65-74 age bracket hitting a 70.8 percent turnout.  Women voters are more likely to vote than male and white and black voters exceed 60 percent turnout with Hispanic and Asian voters less than 50 percent turnout.

As a university that complies with Title IV regulations, APUS supports the National Voter Registration Act and encourages our students who are U.S. citizens to exercise their right to vote.  Before you can vote, you must register to vote in your home state.  A form for voter registration can be downloaded at  Every year prior to July 1, we send out consumer information to our student population.  Since many states require registration prior to 120 days before the election, we hope that you’ve registered to vote and, more importantly, plan to vote on Election Day.  If you’re not going to be in town on that date, be sure to request an absentee ballot from your local election officials. 

In a country that prides itself on its democratic roots, you may be interested in knowing that the 2004 election reversed a declining trend in voter turnout with 64 percent of Americans over the age of 18 voting.  Our turnout still ranks 139 out of 172 countries according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.  Regardless of which party you plan to vote for, make your plans for voting on Election Day 2008!

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