As Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice ramps up her campaign to become New York's next attorney general, she also joins the ranks of politicians who ask voters to cast ballots for them but often have failed to vote themselves.

Rice, 45, first registered to vote as a Republican in Nassau County in October 1984. But election records show she never voted for the better part of two decades.

Rice, who faces four challengers in a Sept. 14 primary contest for the Democratic nomination, cast the first vote of her life in November 2002. All told through 2009, she voted in eight of the 26 years since she first registered to vote as a Republican in 1984.

Rice characterizes her long-term failure to vote as a youthful lapse.

"It was my mistake," said Rice, when asked about the 18-year gap between registering to vote and actually doing so. "During that period of my life, I did not vote. Unfortunately, like a lot of young adults early in their professional lives, I failed to see the political significance of casting a ballot."