In the 2008 presidential election, about 20 million voters in the United States cast a ballot for the first time, including millions of young people who had turned 18 years old since 2004.
The Times Free Press went in search of young people who will be voting for the first time in a presidential election in 2012 to discover their feelings about joining the great American democratic tradition.
We asked them how they prepared to cast their first votes and what issues matter most to them.
Issues of importance: "First, the economy, encouraging businesses to come to the United States; second, health care."
Issues of importance: "Health care and student loans are the two things I feel come to the forefront for me, being a student and money-conscious."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284. Contact Holly Leber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6391.