Should More People Vote?
Voting in a local, state, or national election is an exciting opportunity provided by democratic nations to their citizens. But some of us don’t value that option when we fail to exercise our right to vote. So, if voting is so exciting, why aren’t more Americans exercising their right and voting? A better question, why are people who are able to and/or registered to vote, don’t? Some may say the reason is “their votes don’t count, too busy, lines to long, the registration process is confusing, can’t get to the polls, don’t like the candidate, they don’t feel their vote will make a difference, or they may shrug and offer no answer at all. The fact of the matter is, none of that is true. If you are really concerned about all these things, you should vote. Maybe a better candidate would have won, and maybe he or she would have taken some effective measures for improvement. Unless you vote you just can’t blame the government, because you have failed your duties. And, if you are one of those people who think voting is a waste of time and keep on complaining about how the government is a complete failure; then it is time you realize the importance of voting, and do your bit to enhance the effectiveness of the government.
OK, if there is one thing that is really annoying to us actual voters it is the endless ramblings on the bad political policy of a current government spewing from the mouths of eligible voters who never bothered to cast a ballot. If you don’t vote it is like saying you don’t care how your country is run, so if you don’t care where do you get the idea that you can complain when something happens that you don’t like? If you don’t vote you really have no right complaining about anything the government does and if you’re like most people you like complaining and have it down to a fine art. Want the right to complain when the powers that be make a truly heinous decision? Then you must exercise your right to vote. Casting a vote allows an individual to express a choice among candidates who wish to become government leaders. It’s up to each voter to locate available information about each candidate and to make an informed decision about how to vote. Rather than allowing potential leaders to hide weaknesses and wrong-doing from public awareness, a democratic voting process urges us to get involved and to share our viewpoints about who should lead. Failing to register a vote is like saying you don’t care. Few people truly remain oblivious to government leadership.
Most have opinions about the way things should go, and they should use the voting process to express their preferences. Many Americans don’t vote because they think their vote doesn’t count. This is a common excuse that’s rooted in the belief that the Electoral College chooses the President, not the voters. The reality, the popular vote in each state determines which candidate the Electoral College endorses for that state. Therefore, your vote does count within your state, the more voices you have coming from your state benefits you in assuring that the best candidate is elected, and you should get out and exercise your right to vote. Whether it’s an election for a county councilman or woman, mayor, governor, state official, legislator, senator, or president, it is the people of a nation who have the right to put-forward policies that will affect the town, your job, your country, your taxes through the governing bodies. Some use the excuse they are too busy to vote. Granted, Americans are busy people. With work, family, and other life obligations, civic duties like voting tend to get in the way. There’s no doubt that voting presents scheduling challenges, but is that really a good excuse not to vote? After all, people all over the world have fought and died for the right to vote. The least we can do is carve out a few minutes to go to a polling center and cast our vote. And, the more people casting their votes the better the election process works.
Voting lines can sometimes be long, and for busy people waiting in line is a horrible waste of time and energy. But in reality, voting lines are seldom long, even for high-profile presidential races. With the advent of new technology, voting is becoming easier and more efficient than ever before, and this allows voters to get in and out without having to wait in long lines. This excuse is becoming less and less relevant as time goes on. Bringing a friend along can make the time spent in line every bit worth it. If you are one of those people that have moved from country to country or state to state, the voting registration process can be confusing. However, registration itself is painless and takes little more than the presentation of valid form of identification (state issued driver’s license or identification card, or military ID). Therefore, to prevent registration requirements from preventing you from voting, make it a point to update your voter registration every time you move. You can also contact your state’s voting commission with any questions and/or concerns you may have.
Voting provides a medium for people to support the democratic structure. If a majority of the people chose not to vote, democracy might become a thing of the past, replaced by another form of government that might prove more discriminatory in nature. Registering to vote means you believe in the democratic process and will participate in it to represent your right to freedom of speech. Getting to polling locations can be a hassle, especially for the disabled, the sick, elderly, and people without transportation. In addition, voting becomes even more difficult for those citizens who are temporarily out of the country, on vacation, or business. But advocacy groups are making it much easier to get to the polls, even for those with special needs. Organizations like the NAACP and Committee to Re-elect President Obama, along with churches and other civic groups made transportation assistance for voters without transportation a priority issue. In addition, absentee voting allows those people who are temporarily out of the country to cast their vote remotely. As a result, claiming that you can’t get to the polls is not a very good excuse not to vote. Showing up at the poll on voting day sets a good example to others. Remember, your children observe all that you do and will learn from your example, right or wrong as it may be. Civic awareness is an important part of their training and one of the early steps on the road to maturity. Discuss the candidates with your family and make a point of mentioning your vote, or wearing the pin distributed at many polls that reads “I voted today.”
Voting also sets a positive example to neighbors, friends, and family who may be uninterested in or unfamiliar with the electoral system. We have a reputation for being indifferent to politics and voting in general, but politics in particular can cause Americans’ eyes to glaze over. Many people don’t like the partisan bickering underlying the voting process, and this is a valid concern. However, if you are too apathetic to vote, you should also be sure to hold your complaints about the way things are run. If you don’t voice your opinion by voting, you shouldn’t have the right to voice your complaints when things don’t go the way you want them to. This excuse is one of my personal favorites, “I didn’t vote because I didn’t like the candidate.” Politicians are sometimes easy to dislike. Their flaws are often aired publicly for the entire world to see, and many people generally distrust politicians based on this information. But even if you don’t particularly like any of the candidates, do you really know them? And should it matter whether you like them or not? Perhaps a politician’s stance on issues important to you is more important than whether or not they are likeable. Even if it’s choosing the lesser of two or more evils in your eyes, voting is still an important way for you to voice your opinion about the subjects you care about most. Republicans and Democrats are the most prominent political parties. However, they are not the only ones. It is interesting to wonder if the other parties would have a better chance if everyone who actually was eligible to vote did vote. Choosing a Democrat or Republican may be the safe choice, but after a while, they are more interested in fighting one another than in getting anything done for the country. As a result, it only feels like you are voting for the “lesser of two evils” when you vote for either major party. People also feel that their votes don’t matter.
This feeling was prevalent even before the presidential election in 2000, between Al Gore and George W. Bush, where the recounts were stopped and certain votes were not counted because they didn’t come out of the machine quite right. After that, however, the feeling that people had that their votes did not count enough to make a difference got far worse after that election. It alienated many people from voting that were not already feeling that way. It also is difficult to feel that one vote makes much of a difference with millions of people voting. There are a lot of people that are just so fed up with the whole political process in general that they don’t even want to bother with it anymore. After all, the politicians seem to care more about cutting each other down than doing what they are elected to do. Even when it comes to campaigning, they spend more time talking about what the other person has done or will do wrong than they do about what they themselves will do right. It doesn’t even matter what party they are from as all parties are equally guilty for doing this. Supporting the electoral process helps to reinforce your regional government. Showing that you care with your vote tells candidates that they must be accountable to the public. It also suggests that those who introduce issues for a vote must provide adequate information to answer peoples’ questions and address their concerns rather than attempt to finagle a half-baked idea onto the general public. A democracy can only work if a majority (if not all) of its citizens get together and make it work. By getting people of all genders and ages to vote, a difference can be made on the choosing of a great leader. Remember, with one vote you can make a difference, many votes can bring about change, and every vote counts (remember what happened in Florida with the Al Gore-George W. Bush election). At the end of the day, if you are over 18 and you know what you want for your country, then you should vote. Vote because you can cast a vote legally. Show that you care for the democracy that you live in by being an active participant in something that is so simple. It’s is just about making a choice. Whether it is the right choice or not depends on how much you do care. Voting is a powerful way of voicing out your opinions on how you want your democracy to be run and who should lead it. With the coming elections, now is the time to do your research and look at all your options. Cast your vote when the day comes and encourage others to do so as well. When you ask people why they don’t vote, it comes down to basically, “I don’t have enough time, it’s not easy to vote.” It’s pretty easy to vote. I don’t know if they’re legitimate excuses, or just lazy and I don’t care.
A lot of people don’t vote, because they say they’re disillusioned with the political process, you have the right to be disillusioned, but you shouldn’t be disillusioned to the point that you don’t care enough to try to change it. Keep this in mind the next time an election comes around and you have the opportunity to make a difference. A lot of people fought and died for your right to vote. There was a time in this country when women, minorities and adults younger than 21 could not. Many people worked hard and sacrificed so you have that right. It is your duty to exercise it. Vote for those who died for your freedom. Soldiers and civil rights workers have given their lives for your right to vote. Soldiers continue to fight and die in wars. Your vote decides who the leaders are who make the decision to go to war. Vote, if for no other reason than to say “Thank you” to the men and women who sacrificed, and are still sacrificing their lives for you to have that right. More people should vote because the more. The more people who vote means the louder our voices become in Washington.