What do you think about mandatory voting?
ITS ELECTION DAY! Everyone get out to the polls and please make your voice heard. Regardless of who you vote for, I view voting as an obligation of the citizen. 60 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2016 presidential election and only 40% of 18-29 year olds votes. WHY?
Voting is a free way to give your opinion on your government and the state of affairs. The numbers only get worse for off years (like this one). The voter turn out for 2015 was only 40%. White americans are the demographic most likely to get out to the polls, followed by Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities. Individuals with Post-Grad degrees are most likely to vote so hopefully all of you keep this up.
I wanted to look at how other countries encourage democracy (or voter turnout to elections) and a few really stand out. The first idea is making the first Tuesday in November a federal holiday. “Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, and a number of other countries, for example, facilitate voting with an extremely simple, low-cost innovation: They hold elections on either weekends or holidays.” This is not a unique idea and I feel it would fundamentally encourage voters if that was your one responsibility for the day.
Other countries such as Australia, have compulsory voting. This means that on election day, you must vote or you face a 20 dollar fine if you don’t have a legitimate excuse. While this approach seems a bit aggressive, we already force men over 18 to sign up for the draft and to serve if called upon. Now I know thats not a regular occurrence but we also have mandatory jury duty. Mandatory elections I do not think would place undue burden on the citizen and the benefits of a more representative government can’t be understated.
The United States is 139 of 172 when it comes to voter turnout. For a country that spread freedom and democracy like no one’s business, this is a sad statistic. Sweden, one of the best voting countries in the world with 96% voter turnout, doesn’t have secondary registration ( which makes a lot of sense to me), instead they have a national database that uses public records to send out voter’s appropriate polling stations before each election.
Why don’t Americans vote? I’m not sure, but there’s definitely room for improvement.