Voting Isn't Easy
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Politics and Activism

Voting Isn't Easy

There are complexities involved in the voting process, and some Americans are unable to venture past them.

Voting Isn't Easy

Voting: a civic responsibility that every American is expected to fulfill. Register to vote, wait for the day when polls open or a ballot arrives in the mail, and cast your vote. However, if each of these three steps didn't entail a layer of complexity, a lot more than 40 percent of the electorate would participate during the election season. So why exactly is voter turnout so low?

Inefficient Polling Locations

In low-income areas, polling locations are granted less resources, thus lowering the efficiency of ballot casting. As a result, the time spent in line increases exponentially and voter morale takes a turn for the worst. Millennials and minorities are disproportionately affected due the the fact that these groups are prevalent within areas of lower socioeconomic standing.

I.D. Issues

For some, the only difficult part about voting is brandishing a driver's license upon arrival at the polling station. However, having a form of identification isn't a simple task for low-income individuals and college students who struggle to determine a permanent residence. Not to mention, some people simply don't drive, and others no longer identify as the sex printed on their license.

Criminal Disenfranchisement

Similar to the aforementioned reasons, there are notable disparities regarding income and ethnicity, as minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status tend to have higher imprisonment rates. Although most states allow convicted felons to apply for the ability to vote, very few actually take advantage of the opportunity. It doesn't help that states have various requirements that can make the path to enfranchisement all the more difficult. In Florida, for example, formerly convicted felons must wait five or more years to apply for voting rights, while the processing of an application can elongate the waiting period even more.

Voter Apathy

In a country with a democracy as convoluted as ours, it's easy to assume our votes hold no value. Despite this common presupposition, our votes still make us heard, it just depends on how much of a ruckus we make. In other words, the more individuals within in a certain demographic vote, the more likely their grievances are to be addressed. More specifically, voter turnout for those above the age of 65 surpasses the voting rate of all other age groups, thus politicians are more likely to angle their proposals towards their grey-haired constituents.

While a portion of the American public chooses not to exercise their ability to vote, there is a sizable fraction of citizens who have a number of road blocks that they cannot overcome alone. In order to make an efficient democracy possible, those of us who are capable can fight for the system all Americans deserve. From less strict identification requirements, to poll workers who are genuinely willing to help, the public can form a cohesive unit to grant everyone the right to make their voice heard by those who represent us.

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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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