Should voting be required? Northwest students consider compulsory voting

United States Census Bureau reported voter turnout in Presidential elections by age from 1980 to 2016

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/random-samplings/2017/05/voting_in_america.html

United States Census Bureau reported voter turnout in Presidential elections by age from 1980 to 2016

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






61.4 percent.

Only 61.4 percent of the US eligible voters actually turned up at the polls in 2016. Casting your ballot in every election possible is crucial to the advancement of our democratic society. In a moral and just democracy, the power should come from the people, all people, not just the sliver who consistently show up to the polls year after year.

Senior Jacob England intends on voting in every election he possibly can. The importance of engaging in the democratic process is recognized by him and many others as an obligation Americans have.

“I feel like as an American you should vote. It’s your right,” England said.

I feel like as an American you should vote. It’s your right,”

— Jacob England

The question is, who are the regular voters? And why don’t others vote?

Older Americans typically have the highest voter turnout. In the 2016 presidential election, this was no different. About 70.9 percent of citizens 65 and older turned up at the polls, while only about 46.1 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds cast their ballots.

“I feel like some older Americans have a higher sense of patriotism,” England said.

In a country with over 300 million people, often times people feel their vote doesn’t matter, so what can we do to encourage voting?

“Around schools we should talk more about voting in classes, preparing for the future into adulthood, and showing the importance (of) voting,” senior Kendall Young said.

Education is a thought, but what more can we do? Australia enacted compulsory voting in 1924, and the lowest voting turnout since that date was just under 91 percent.

Although Australia only has a population of around 25 million people, the high voting rates are one the US should strive for. 

In order to encourage voting, the United States should work to emphasize the importance of every person’s vote. For some, the choice of candidate may skew their decision away from voting.

“Some people don’t care enough to vote, or they feel like they don’t know enough, and some people just don’t like whoever is leading, so they choose not to vote,” Young said.

The Australian compulsory voting laws require you to either vote, provide an adequate reason for not showing up at the poles, or pay a fine.

The US could look into introducing a policy similar to this, or we could encourage a more diverse range of political candidates so each person can find a nominee with the most similar views as their own.

“I think having a good president that you want to have is incentive enough,” Young said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email