Chapter 8 Essay Voting
Since the beginning of civilization, voting has been a major part of a democratic society. As time goes by, it seems, voting is less and less popular. In ancient Greek and Roman days, it was really considered a great privilege to be qualified to vote. In those times, a person who was an actor, for example, was not allowed to vote. In those days actors toured from village to village, always on the move, so the society thought they would not be informed enough to make good decisions when they went to vote. Now in modern times, when everyone has a chance to vote, over the age of 18 and who is registered and not a felon (in 10 states,) voting is less popular and much of our society chooses to stay home on election day. Why is it losing popularity? I think it is by design by the “powers that be.” I believe Civics, or Government classes fail to teach students the value of having a free society and that voting is what keeps us free. Schools have not really shown the value of studying in the area of government studies, like civics and history and showing how lucky Americans are in living in a free country where we are allowed to vote freely. In many school districts, when there was a budget crunch, Social Studies was the first curriculum they eliminated, or cut back on. They needed to promote English as a Second Language, so something had to be cut back, so they choose to reduce Civic and History classes. Therefore, having a society where voting and politics is not valued as much as it should be makes for a very apathetic society. So many people feel like their vote does not really matter and therefore they do not always bother to vote. Also, it seems that politics are just so complex and filled with corruption that many people just ignore it and feel there is nothing they can do anyway to fix anything and they just stay home on election day, and maybe they do not even know its Election Day! Then, these non- voters end up being the biggest complainers about the election results.
A way to increase voter participation is to keep it less complicated. Voting for people is one problem and voting for rules and changes in society norms, like same sex marriage, or legalizing marijuana posses another problem. Writing referendums to put on the ballot or proposals can very easily be written in such a way that a yes vote means “No” and a NO vote means “yes” Like this last election for Prop 6, the gas tax. To make voters more willing to actually show up and vote, it would be better if each item on the ballot stood alone. One issue per item, not three things piled up together so if the voter liked some of the ideas but not all of the ideas, you could vote item by item. Each law should have its own line to vote on. Furthermore, it should be straight forward where yes was a vote for it and no meant NO! As far as getting more interest in voting, I think the candidates should have to tell the truth and not misrepresent really what they plan to do so that when people vote they know what’s up and what to expect of this politician when he is sitting in Congress or the White House. The news media should hold every candidate responsible for what they say in their campaign.
As far as the 2016 and the 2018 elections, the election brought out many first time voters or people who do not usually vote according to several pollsters. The candidates, Trump and Clinton in 2016 really made the election process very wild and exciting or depressing, depending on what side you are on and that triggered more people to actually vote, and then in 2018 it still was better than usual but decreasing a little. According to the Pew Research Center, 61.4% voted in 2016 which broke even with the 2012 election. Many media people said that Trump make the election more interesting than usual so more people voted and then in 2018 , which was a midterm election an estimated 113 million people voted and this broke a record of the first mid term in history to exceed 100 million voted with 49% of voters participating. Since a Republican won the presidency in 2016, I would say the Republican party benefited.