Should Voting Be Mandatory?

I believe voting should be mandatory in the United States. Only 57.5% of Americans voted in the 2012 presidential election. Statistically, that is just over half and can't accurately represent the American population. We (Americans) say that the purpose of elections is to allow the people to have a voice, but if the people aren't using their voices the results of elections shouldn't be considered veracious.

Many may argue against the constitutionality or success of mandatory voting. However, mandatory voting has been proven successful in Australia which happens to be the English speaking country with the most similar government to that of America. After voter turnout dropped to approximately 60% (similar to the 58%) in America, Australia adopted mandatory voting laws. They encouraged people to vote by forcing citizens to pay small fines for not voting and increasing those fines with a repeated lack of participation. In the 1925 election, 91% of eligible voters in Australia voted and that has increased to approximately 95% in more recent elections.

Mandatory voting could be beneficial to the United States in more ways than one. If every citizen who was eligible to vote actually voted, our political leaders would go where the votes are. They wouldn't just chase the extremes. Younger voters are often not represented well because the younger Americans are typically more uneducated and sometimes simply uninterested in voting. However, mandatory voting could encourage politicians to become more responsive to younger citizens and other underrepresented demographics.

In addition to motivating political leaders to become more responsive to underrepresented demographics, mandatory voting could also prompt more Americans to become politically aware. Many citizens have no interest in learning about politics and things our nation is experiencing because they don't act on any of it.

Also, making voting mandatory in America could help decrease political polarization in our country. (For those of you who don't know political polarization refers to cases in which someone's stance on a given issue, policy, or person is defined by their identification with a political party or ideology.) In America, hard-core partisans are typically over-represented while conservatives are more often under-represented. Mandatory voting could help even out the results after the election and make elections more useful to the people.

My main concern with why voting should be mandatory lies with the fact that many generations fought for the right to vote for years. We should treat it like a responsibility, rather than taking that right for granted.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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