Does Nonvoting Hurt Democracy?
Should we have the freedom to chose weather we vote or not? Currently the United States allows citizens not to vote, but some believe that this makes our politics undemocratic. Some think forcing people to vote is against the freedoms we have today. In the following essay, I will give the views of Arend Lijphart and Austin Ranney about these topics.
Austin Ranney does not dread that low voting is hurting American democracy. Arend Lijphart believes that democracy is meaningless without voting. The fact that to many people do not vote for Presidential or Congressional elections concerns him. With numbers like 49 and 55 percent of the eligible population voting on Presidential elections, Lijphart questions the actual democracy in America. Low voting turnouts is giving large groups more control over government ideals. Lijphart thinks the best way to solve this problem is to raise turnouts in a variety of ways. Things like weekend voting and easier ways of acquiring absentee ballots will increase the number of voters. Also, having multiple elections and the ability to register on the same day will help considerably. Austin Ranney on the other hand believes that voting is already easy enough. Since the 1960’s, ballot voting has been made easier and anyone in the voting-age can vote. Race, gender, and age (eighteen and up) cannot prevent someone from voting. Ranney does not worry about the people who choose not to vote because of their lack of effort should not be counted anyways. With the ideas given by Lijphart, Ranney suspects that those terms would only increase voting by about 9 percent.
Arend Lijphart suggests many ways to increase voting, but his strongest point involves compulsory voting. Compulsory voting would make it the law to vote. Lijphart uses Australia, Italy, and Brazil as examples of countries who have a mandatory voting system. Although there is...