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Voter Turnout Turmoil

Essay by   •  December 18, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  1,007 Words (5 Pages)  •  401 Views

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The general meaning of voting is to give a formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made by an individual or body of individuals. In other words, the point in voting is to incorporate an essential part of the United States democracy and place the foundation to the system and public control over the public power in the country. However, the voting process as it is today has limitations and even though every United States citizen has the right to vote, many people do not vote. In the most recent 2014 midterm elections voter turnout rates were their lowest levels since 1942, with less than 37 percent of the eligible population making it to the polls.

The current voting system affects minorities and places groups of Americans into an inopportune situation compared to people who have opportunities such as a flexible schedule, access to transportation, and the time it takes to register and get out to the poles. Speaking of opportunity, many United States citizens cannot participate in voting or elections because of their social status. Race, gender, felonies, and many other reasons determine if you can participate in the upcoming election or not.

The voting system as it is today can be improved by designating more places, times, and dates to improve voting opportunities. “When voter participation rates are low, a small minority often ends up controlling leadership and policy decisions, while lower-income, younger and non-white voters are less often heard by political leaders.” Based on this data some people including Obama have argued that voting should be mandatory and a civil duty. However; there are many roadblocks that prevent people from voting given the current system. Eliminating barriers would attract more voters to the ballot box. Voter turnout would increase and equalize the playing field if there were not so many rules and regulations and more opportunities that accommodate every citizen.

In order to vote, people have to register ahead of time adding an additional step to the process that many people do not do. They may miss the deadline or simply not be able to pre-register. If people miss the registration day then voting isn’t an option for them. This is unfair because everyone has different responsibilities and cannot always register before the election. The requirement of pre-registering negatively affects voter turnout. Some people may not have any transportation, child care, or have work responsibilities that conflict with the voting times. It would be just as easy to register at the voting precinct on the day of voting then to register ahead of time.

Similarly, the fact that voting is held at only a small window of time and on one specific day can impact voter turnout. Voting is always scheduled on Tuesdays during a specific time period. So if you are in a profession such as nursing and work double shift on Tuesdays, you are not likely going to make it to the polls.

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