Whether voting should be mandatory in the United States
Voting refers to the process where a group of people make their decision or express their views about something. Voting can be done through various methods. For example, it can be done through discussions, debates or even election campaigns. Through voting, an individual expresses support or preference of a proposition, or a candidate. In any democratic system, voting is through an election. Political voting results in appointment of representatives in a certain government (Lupia and McCubbins 1998).
In the United States, elections during the earliest elections were conducted either by voice vote or paper ballots that were put into ballot boxes. Later improvements followed after growth of the United States and expansion of the electorate decades after the civil war. The Australian or blanket ballot form was introduced. It listed the names of all candidates. The ballot boxes were also installed with new security features. In the 1960s, the United States elections moved from mechanical to electronic. There was introduction of computer-read ballot systems, which triumphed over mechanical machines.
A computer punch card ballot is perforated by the votes either by using a stylus or punch. In the 1990s, computer touch screen came into use where votes are captured digitally. This is through use of familiar graphic layouts by Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting systems. According to Smithstein (2005) the ability to vote is as a result of a cherished constitutional right. Many people fought for it, marched for it and even died. Voting ensures a country remains democratic. Citizens, who fail to vote, can be said to give away their right to influence the government.
The will of the minority normally replaces the will of the majority, when some citizens fall to vote (Campbell, et al. 1960). It is worth noting that, in the United States the voter turn out during the elections has been declining over the years. This has raised concerns and a proposition to make voting mandatory should be looked at. In support of this proposition and those against it will be examined. To begin with, support for making the United States elections mandatory would be very beneficial to the citizens and the state as a whole.
Mandatory voting for all eligible voters ensure positive change in the system of governance and other aspects of state development. Through voting, citizens bring change by electing people who implement change, even at the grass root level. Public health issues and education policies are set by the government through its elected and appointed officials. These policies will determine whether the change made improves the standards of living of its citizens (Smithsonian, NMA). The winning president in an election has an enormous impact on the people children’s future for many years that follow.
The president has the powers to nominate a new justice and Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is very important in the United States. It is responsible for making the ultimate decision on how each and every American lives. This is after passing of laws and veto bills by the president together with the congress. If all citizens (eligible) voted, then it would guarantee them that decisions made by the Supreme Court are as a result of their vote. They are responsible for those decisions and would be ready to support and implement them. This would ensure appropriate social standards in the community (Smithstein, 2005).
It is considered to be the most cherished constitution right – to vote. The ability to vote have been fought for and people have died over the centuries to acquire it. This ability is given to each and every eligible voter. It enables one to know their elected leaders and officials, both locally and nationally. Citizens can therefore get a chance to voice their complaints to the relevant representatives or authorities when need arises. After all, they should work for the citizens who elected them. This proves that each citizen’s vote is important and ways of ensuring all voters elect their leaders would be beneficial.
Excuses have been given that explain why some citizens do not vote. One good example is lack of transport to the polling stations. This has resulted to some several organizations volunteer their time to ensure those who lack transport can vote on time. One such organization is the League of Women Voters. The organizations also offer advice to voters to ask for an absentee ballot and vote through mail, if they are unable to reach the polling stations. Making voting compulsory in the United States will help reduce number of voters who fail to vote due to such mentioned excuses.
In the United States of America, citizens vote representation from the basis for the entire government structure. The presidential elections in the United States have been decided by less than 70% of the eligible voters (ESG Advocacy Project Committee 2004). Since the government structure in the United States depends on the voter turnout, it would be very important for all citizens to vote. This ensures the right governance structure is put on place. Developing a policy to ensure all citizens vote would be a sure way of enabling election of the right representatives in the governance.
According to the United States Constitution 54, Twenty Fourth Amendment gives every citizen the right to vote. Any voter should not be denied the opportunity to vote (The US constitution, 2004). It’s the duty of the state to ensure that the citizen is not denied his or her right to vote. This conviction may necessitate the state to make sure that all the eligible voters vote. Therefore, a proposal that may be put forward to make voting compulsory in the United States would be a way of pressuring the citizens to exercise their right that has been given to them by the constitution.
The voting process if made compulsory, would ensure that all eligible voters or citizens’ vote. Local authorities that are elected have been given the power to levy taxes and implement new laws. Taxes provide income that is used to implement development plan in the local set up . For example health facilities, schools, infrastructure, sewage systems, water systems, waste disposal systems can be developed to ensure their efficiency in providing proper services in the community. Hence every citizen who should vote therefore has a voice in electing authorities that will ensure fairness in levying taxes as well as implementation of new laws.
Voting of every citizen gives him or her an opportunity to choose decide how the local authorities develop and implement plans for their own good. It creates a sense of responsibility in citizens, where the running of local authorities depends entirely on their vote. This is why every citizen’s vote counts very much, such that making it compulsory would be for the good of the local people.. The voting process is crucial in that, it gives voters a chance to decide their own future. This is through them electing candidate of their own choice.
This candidate’s views may reflect their views of the same voters who elected them. The candidate due to similar views on the needs of the citizens would prioritise implementation of plans to improve social status of the community. Every citizen has his or her own views of what decision should be made at one particular time in the government. This depends on their moral, ethical and religious convictions about a certain phenomena. In most cases, citizens’ views follow priorities as dictated by their needs.
These needs when catered for ensure good standards of living for the citizens. Voting will give citizens an opportunity to elect someone who may cater for their needs as a result of having similar views to those of the citizen who elected him or her. This will be for the good of voters. The likely advocates who would support the proposal to make voting mandatory are; community organizations who work towards improvement of standards of living of the people. Their role to ensure this is achieved will include, making sure the right leaders are elected.
These leaders’ decisions on issues that touch on the community determine whether conditions at the community environment are improved or not. Advocacy organizations (for example ESG Advocacy Project). They enlighten and educate citizens on the merits and demerits of voting. Due to the importance the organization has attached to voting, they work very hard to ensure all citizens that are eligible for voting do so. Measures that would encourage all citizens to vote would boost their efforts in ensuring all citizens vote. Religious organizations promote morals and virtues that should be cultivated in the society.
Immorality is in turn discouraged. It a major role for religion to ensure that there is a morally right government in place, while all political injustices done away with. Electing responsible and morally right leaders would be a good way of promoting good governance Religious movements would likely advocate for all citizens casting their ballot in election. Teaching students and even concerned citizens (activists) would also advocate for compulsory voting. They understand well the problems that citizens encounter in the society as a result of poor governance.
They teach on how to solve these problems. They organise workshops, seminars and public rallies to educate citizens how important their votes are, as well as encourage citizens to vote. On the other hand, some may oppose the policy that would make United States voting mandatory. Some voters do not recognize the difference their vote may make in the governance system. This is because some voters may see or view all candidates as being the same. All the candidates may have similar ideas or views on all the various issues that affect their country.
Where candidates do not represent change, citizens feel they have nothing better to look forward to. The change they would anticipate in their government cannot be achieved. To them, casting the vote is as good as not voting at all. Making voting compulsory would then be unfair to such citizens since they would have to waste their time, money and energy while gaining nothing from them casting the vote. Lack of the means to travel to the polling stations hinder some citizens from voting. This may be as a result of the economic ability of the citizen. Unemployment has been a challenge.
While a lot of people lack jobs, others work for a very poor payment. It becomes very difficult for them to provide for their families as required . For such citizens, lack of money to afford transport to the polling stations may hinder their ability to vote. Therefore, unless the state is willing to be providing transport to the polling station, it would be unreasonable to force them to vote. Alternatively, empowering all citizens to be financially stable would ensure that they are able to cater for the transport cost to the polling stations. Others claim that the polling stations are too crowded.
The polling stations have a very large number of voters who should vote. To ensure that all voters cast their votes consumes a lot of time and may make some citizens take too long to vote. They will view voting as a waste of time. To them, it would be wise for the state to establish many and efficient polling stations in all states, where every polling station has a much smaller number of people voting to avoid crowding. The voters can vote much faster and less time wasted waiting for the others to vote before voting. This would be much better than making the voting process compulsory.
Voting is a process that gives freedom to a citizen to make a choice. The decision by a citizen to vote should therefore be an issue of choice. It should be voluntary. A citizen has been given the freedom of choice. Making voting a must for citizens violates the freedom of choice, whereby voters feel that they are being intimidated to make a choice. This creates a sense of dissatisfaction with the governing system. Citizens lack a sense of responsibility in electing a candidate of their choice . The will vote not because of their own good, but to follow the law as given.
Electronic voting though seen as effective, some computer experts are convinced that a voter can use a fake card to make multiple votes. The conviction of knowing that one’s vote may be manipulated may discourage some citizens from voting. Though they go to the polling station to cast their vote, their vote may not count after all. They feel that no matter how hard they try, their vote will not determine the election of the candidate of their choice. Election methods that guarantee total security would do well to encourage both voters to vote compared to making voting a must (Richard, 2003).
The likely advocates in opposing this proposal would include, National Organizations that advocate for the respect of the rights of a citizen. Such organizations oppose proposals that may be unfair to some citizens . A good example being those that lack financial ability to cater for costs that may be incurred in the process of voting. Political activists and political leaders who defend people from injustice that may occur as a result of the enactment of the proposal may also oppose the proposal. Community social workers organizations also may advocate against the proposal.
My view on the above issue is that voting is a very important process in any nation, including the United States. It should be accorded the crucial role it deserves, either by the citizens or the government. Views have been echoed that, some American citizens give excuses for not voting. They take for granted a privilege of voting that has been offered to them. Citizens should be educated on the importance of voting and how it affects them. This can be through awareness campaigns, workshops, education curricula and community organizations.
The most important thing in ensuring citizens vote is not to make compulsory, but it is by empowering them to recognize the importance of their vote. There are many countries in the world where people do not get a privilege to choose, through elections. These people would be very grateful to get the chance. As citizens, our votes count and we should not wait until we are forced to vote. It should be our responsibility to do so.
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