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Seven weeks from today, voters will go to the polls and elect the 43rd president of the United States, deciding much of the country's fate in the process. And whether you support Bush or Gore, Buchanan or Nader, the good news is that it's not too late to sign up -- and that it's never been easier to register to vote. The sad fact is that young people today vote in lower numbers than any other age group. And until members of the so-called Generations X and Y begin to participate more heavily in the democratic process, they can expect that their concerns will not be adequately addressed by the powers that be. But this presidential election -- the first for most current Penn undergraduates -- is an opportunity to buck the trends of the last few election cycles and demonstrate that a new generation of politically active and aware citizens has emerged. Voter registration deadlines in most states for the general election will not pass until the second or third week of October, leaving plenty of time to sign up. The deadline in Pennsylvania, California, Florida and New Jersey is October 10; in New York and Maryland, October 13; and in Massachusetts, October 18. Most state Web sites -- such as for Pennsylvania -- offer complete registration information through their individual election boards. Many offer downloadable registration forms, and California even allows residents to register online. Penn students are eligible to register either in their home states or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Those who choose the Keystone State won't have to go far -- to David Rittenhouse Laboratories at 33rd and Walnut streets -- to vote on Tuesday, November 7. Others should request absentee ballots from their local governments and make sure they are returned on time. The results of this election will help determine the course this country takes on issues like the national debt, entitlements, education and health care. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.

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