First-time voters in the Chattanooga area engaged, aware of candidates, issues

photo Robbie Ervin, left, and Nathan Mileur, Silverdale Baptist Academy seniors, are both preparing to vote for the first time in November's presidential election.

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.