I see a common thread through all these comments, and in the USA Today article as well. Apparently people believe that the presidential election is the one that matters, when in fact it may be the least important race.
We don't elect a king. We've had bad Presidents and good Presidents, and we've muddled through pretty well, because the President, on his own, doesn't make that big a difference. He's one guy at the top of a huge government that turns about as readily as the QE2 does cartwheels.
You want to see your vote make a difference? Easy. Vote for your Mayor. Vote for your City Councilman / Alderman / Tribal Elder / Grand Dragon or whatever your local officials are. They make decisions you see every day. They fix potholes, appoint police chiefs, collect trash, and decide whether or not you can own a ferret within city limits.
If that all seems too petty for you, try voting for Congresscritters. You'll be voting in your district, not the entire US, your vote will be much more noticable, and in a close race you could probably get your choice of intern to take home for the night if you promised to vote and bring two friends.
You could work your up, if you wanted to, or just stay local.
If voting gets dull, try running for Dogcatcher, Mage, or Knight of the Table Round (again, fill in your local officialdom). Lose or (may God have mercy on your soul) win, you could get your name in the paper and everything.
Presidential races are big and showy, and the press like to cover them because it's hard to get famous covering the City Council, and because we have a secret royalist strain in our national character, but the officials where you live probably matter more to you than the ones in DC (except if you live in DC, whose local government seems to be both powerless and hopeless -- but I digress).