- May 20, 2020
SHOULD VOTING BE MADE MANDATORY?
SHOULD VOTING BE MADE MANDATORY? 3
SHOULDVOTING BE MADE MANDATORY?
Threearticles, TellingAmericans to vote, or else,ShouldVoting Be Mandatory?and ShouldEverybody Vote?,the authors explore the benefits and challenges of mandatory voting.In the articles, the authors discuss a number of titles related tomandatory voting like the reasons for voting, and comparisons toother list of countries as Australia, with a focus on the benefitsand the issues of the mandatory voting. In any representativedemocracy, citizens are allowed to choose their preferred candidatesto represent their issues in policy making. The United States is amodel country that respects the rights and liberties of the citizens.After every four years, the citizens decide through a voting processon the people to sit in the congress and the oval office. However,when compared with other countries that have a fairly similarelection process, there is an observed variation in the pattern ofvoter turnout. For example, more than 40% of the eligible voters donot participate in presidential elections while about 60% do not turnup for mid-term congressional elections. This is unlike in somecountries like Australia that have a record of over 90% turn out forboth nationals and congressional election.1The trend has a sparked a debate as to whether voting should be amandatory exercise. The elections in the United States should benon-optional because the move can strike a balance between allclasses of people, strengthen citizenship and compel therepresentatives to tackle the issues that they usually ignore whenmaking policies.
First,mandatory voting is democratic. Although citizens enjoy the libertyof non-coercion in matters relating to national interest, they shouldbe held accountable when their intentions depict the lack ofpatriotism. In a democracy, the government is compelled to addressthe needs of the citizens. However, it is worth noting the concernsin the community can only be solved through policies that are made bythe elected leaders.2As observed through the voting statistics over the years, the lesseducated and those in earning meager incomes form the bulk of thosewho do not take part in elections. It translates to about a situationwhere they do not have a background to base their agitation for fairtreatment and eradication of the problems that they face.
Additionally,optional voting gives politicians to exercise democracy that ishatched through low voter turnouts. As a rule of the thumb, thoseseeking various positions use the problems faced by specific groupsto mold their manifestos. Therefore, the active groups dictate whatthe representative sought to do. This, in a way, is an outrightdemocracy. The rationale for this is that those who do notparticipate in elections do not have the conviction to holdindividuals accountable since they are not part of the process.Making voting mandatory in America would eliminate the voter apathyand make citizens from various classes active players in thepolitical arena.3Moreover, the right for expression will have a backing, and thecitizens will be careful when choosing the people to represent theirissues.
Secondly,mandatory voting will even out the disparities existing as a resultof differences in education achievement, income, and age. Analystsclaim that the feeling of being alienated from national anddevelopment issues stem from failing to participate in elections. Theyouth and adults from low-income backgrounds are poor voters. Thistrend is mostly due to the belief that they cannot make anysignificant impression in the political process.4It is only through mandatory voting that they can discover thestrength that lies in their votes. By participating in the elections,they will convince policy makers to look at the issues that aremostly ignored. In most states, the middle and upper-class issuesdominate the political agenda, however, with the non-optionalinclusion of the low income and less educated population, they willgain an edge to bargain for development that touch on their lives
However,some scholars are against the idea of mandatory voting that aims atcompelling the low-income earners and the less educated to vote.Brennan Jason, a renowned sociologist, argues that the average voteris politically incompetent. They rarely understand the politicalprocess and the issues that are pertinent to the community. Brennanoutlines that their inclusion in the voting process will lead to achaotic, irrational and misinformed Congress.5The rationale for it is that the average voter can easily becompelled to choose leaders with egoistic interest and who havenothing to do with promoting the American philosophy. However,Brennan argument can be faulted on the basis of overcomplicating thepolitical ideology. According to him, the political decision shouldbe made by the small elite group that controls the majority of theresources. By making voting mandatory, the average American willdevelop an interest in politics and gain acquaintance with time. Thesame scenario was observed in Australia when the critics of mandatoryvoting redirected that there would be massive vote spoilage. However,the inadmissible votes remained between 2% and 3%.6The rationale for this was that the voters developed an interest inunderstanding the process. Furthermore, the citizens are aware thatthe representatives are supposed to advocate for their interest. Theywould, therefore, look for individuals who quote the problems facingthem during voter mobilization.
Theelections in the United States should also be made mandatory becausethe move can reduce political polarization. The current environmentis dominated by schemers who know where to target for votes. The lowturn-out creates a conducive environment for partisan politicians.For example, by targeting the middle class, they are aware that thecitizens form the bottom class will not have an effect their electionoutcomes. It is unfortunate that only three-fifths of the citizensmake decisions on the individual to hold the oval office. The problemcould have emanated from voter apathy. A significant number of peoplebelieve that their votes do not count and cannot give them a voice.However, a mandatory election would combine all their votes and theywould realize the power that they hold. The polarization effect isonly in play because the political elite understands that the averagevoters are ignorant of their power as citizens.
Additionally,realizing the significant role that all citizens can play throughnon-optional voting would strengthen citizenship. Most of thestructural and policy processes emanate from the political process.Consequently, an evenly constituted voter block would appreciate thenational values and be ready to pint out when some representativestry to overstep them.7
Inconclusion, the elections in the United States should be mandatorybecause the move can strike a balance between all people from variousbackgrounds, strengthen patriotism and compel the representatives toaddress the issues that they usually ignore when making policies. Thevoter apathy observed among the low income earners and the lesseducated stems from ignorance on the conviction that lies in theirvotes. Through non-optional voting, they can realize the influencethey can make in policy formulation and elect individuals who canaddress the usual problems that most of the elite representativesignore. Although such a policy can be met with some opposition, itseffects would be observable after voting when the people startholding the representatives accountable for the promises they made.However, with low turn outs, they will not have a string platform toexpress their concerns.
Galston,William A. "Telling Americans to vote, or else." TheNew York Times5 (2011).
Gonchar,Michael. “Should Voting Be Mandatory?” TheNew York Times 3(2015).
Gutting,Gary. Should Everybody Vote? TheNew York Times.(2016). Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/opinion/should-everybody-vote.html
1 Galston, William A. "Telling Americans to vote, or else." The New York Times 5 (2011).
4 Gonchar, Michael. “Should Voting Be Mandatory?” The New York Times 3 (2015).
5 Gutting, Gary. Should Everybody Vote? The New York Times. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/25/opinion/should-everybody-vote.html