Every four years, U.S. residents 18 and over get the chance to voice their opinion and vote for the presidential candidate of their choice. Unfortunately, many young people don’t take advantage of this opportunity.

According to a professor in the government department, less than 50 percent of registered voters in the United States vote on a regular basis. Voters between the ages of 18 and 24 are the least likely to vote.

The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution says, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

The Constitution gives us the right to vote, but still over half of registered voters don’t exercise this right.

The first step to exercising your right to vote is to become a registered voter.

There are many issues especially important in this year’s presidential election. The war in Iraq has been a hot topic this summer and will continue to be one through the November election.

The presidential race is not the only one on the ballot this fall. Voters in Kentucky will be voting for a U.S. Senator. Sen. Jim Bunning is running for re-election against Daniel Mongiardo.

There is also a 6th District U.S. House of Representatives race in Kentucky. Rep. Ben Chandler is running for re-election against, state Sen. Tom Buford, Stacy Abner and Mark Guiley.

For the first time in several years, there is a contested race for the 81st district for the Kentucky House of Representatives. Chuck Luke is hoping to defeat state Rep. Harry Moberly.

There is also an Amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that reads, “Are you in favor of amending the Kentucky Constitution to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be a marriage in Kentucky, and that a legal status identical to or similar to marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized?”

According to the Legislative Research Committee in Kentucky, a “yes” vote for the amendment would not allow legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of Kentucky. A “no” vote for the amendment would not change the Kentucky constitution regarding marriage.

It is very important to vote in all elections no matter how large or how small. It is also important to be educated on the issues being decided. The Progress suggests checking out all the candidates’ Web sites and to get political information from the media, including our series “Picking the President.”

Make sure to vote on Nov. 2.