As the old saying goes, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. We all like to complain about our politicians, the people we elect to do our bidding for public policy. Recently, President Obama complained about low voter turnout. The key question arising from this is should voting be mandatory. Conversely, is a minority (those who vote) making decisions for a large majority (those who don’t vote?)
With the presidential campaigns all but started, the choices that voters will face is daunting. should they elect a hard right republican, a centrist republican, a liberal democrat, a moderate democrat or something entirely off the proverbial grid? Millions of dollars are spent by lobbyists, political action committees, candidates and others to get certain people elected. The key question is why large blocks of people do not even exercise their right to vote?
Is the waiver a form of political protest (neither of the major parties can give me what i want so they will not participate? Is it apathy (the election is all decided so I don’t really need to vote?) Is it Is it ignorance of the issues that are confronting our states and country as a whole? This is a most puzzling question and quagmire for the establishment to confront. We need to have a broad-based electorate that is educated about the issues and is enthusiastic about exercising their right to vote.
Certain foreign countries (Australia) have mandatory voting for their citizens. Should this happen here? The issue is clear. should a disinterested person who knows nothing about the issues still be mandated to vote, or, should those who care decide the elections for all of us? the time to vote is not long at all. Absentee ballots are available thus avoiding a trip to the polling place on election day. This is fairly convenient. Should online voting be allowed? In all likelihood, 21st century technology should allow this to occur. Once again, bring in as many people into the process as possible.
Out history is full of challenges that people engaged in to get the right to vote. We had the right denied for women to vote until the 1920’s, we had Jim Crow legislation in the deep South denying blacks the right to vote until the voting rights act in the 1960’s, we fought World War II to challenge tyranny to allow people to have freedom. perhaps the greatest freedom is the right not to participate at all. This approach makes no sense, but is not surprising. Ignorance is not bliss
it is simply ignorance. If a person has a right, use it. Become part of the decision-making process. Sitting on the sidelines is not a good use of the power given to you by simply punching a ballot. Just remember to avoid “dangling chads” a major issue in a prior presidential election.