Voter turnout in the United States can be defined as the number of votes cast versus the number of registered voters. Since the 1960s, voter turnout in the United States has been steadily declining. "After rising sharply from 1948 to 1960, turnout declined in nearly every election until dropping to barely half of eligible voters in 1988"(FairVote). Some would argue indifference and lack of motivation are main causes for the decline in voter turnout.
People fail to see how voting for a candidate will change their current situation and tend to perceive their votes as useless. Many begin to view the voting process as cynical because of negative ad campaigns and refuse to take part in negative activity. A lack of community participation is another reason. With advances in the television and internet, many citizens become too distracted to vote.
Still others have simply lost trust in their government. Whatever the reasons for the decline in voter turnout, it is an issue that threatens the fabrics of democracy. For a democracy to be successful, it needs to accurately represent the will of the people. In the 2008 election, between 126.5 million and 128.5 million Americans cast ballots making the voter turnout percentage 60.7% (CNN). While more Americans voted than ever before, forty percent of the population still failed to voice their opinion.
If nearly half of registered voters failed to cast a ballot, something is clearly wrong with American politics. A government by the people and for the people cannot exist like this. Low voter turnout in the United States endangers the principles the country was founded upon and should raise alarm.
Some would argue that low voter turnout is not necessarily a bad thing. They believe that only informed voters should be allowed to vote and that voting is more of a privilege than a civic responsibility. But if only a third of the population votes, there is a more important underlying issue. American citizens need to care more about government and politics and become more informed.
[...] The United States should adopt a national popular vote. This way every person would feel that their vote counts. The United States should also do away with the winner-take all districts that discourage voters and make a move toward proportional and representative districts. If voters felt like their vote mattered, there would be way more voter turnout. Another way to increase voter turnout would be to make voting compulsory just like jury duty. "Nations which have compulsory voting, enforced or not, consistently have much higher voter turnout than those countries in which voting is optional" (Roberts). [...]
[...] Works Cited "FairVote.org | Voter Turnout." FairVote. 2000-2011. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.
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