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LET’S GO Polling Station  June 20th 2017 By TUCKER

 

After the U.S. presidential elections in 2016, many people around the world
were shocked that someone like Donald Trump could become the “leader of the
free world”. How could a man like him, without any political experience and
no real qualifications, become President in a country where many of his
views are unpopular? And if so many people are protesting in the United
States, how did he become President in the first place?

 

The answer is actually very simple. The actual percentage of people that
voted was relatively low, with only 57% of voters participating.
Additionally, in many states Americans voted only for Senators (local
elections) and left their vote for President blank. This is because so many
people felt that both available candidates were too bad to vote for, one way
or the other.

 

For the American situation, there is additionally the question of what we
call the Electoral College, or other things like “gerrymandering” and biased
media. Every country probably has problems like these. However, the main
issue is more basic:
            
When the voting rate is low, only the people who decide to vote get to
influence the type of government a country has. People arrested at
anti-Trump protests often confess that they themselves hadn’t voted in the
general election. If you didn’t even vote in the first place, why are you
suddenly protesting now? This problem appears to be global: the World Bank
reported that average global voter turnout rate has dropped by more than 10%
over the last 25 years. When voting rates drop, those people who are
extremely politically active tend to become more powerful as centrist or
moderate voters stop coming out for elections. And when that happens, we
start to see extremist leaders of all kinds taking power.

Some scholars believe that a low voting rate indicates that people are
happy with the way that the government is going, so they have no need to see
any serious change. But it seems equally likely that other reasons are
keeping people away from the polls. In many places, people cannot take time
off of work in order to vote, so only people with leisure time or enough
money can afford to participate in politics. In other places, voting
stations are made harder to access and restrictive in their operating hours
so as to limit the types of people that can go vote. These are very serious
limitations on people’s right to participate, and it is extremely important
that these types of obstacles are reduced so as to ensure a healthy
democracy.


However, the worst reason for people to fail to vote is apathy, or lack of
caring about politics. Many people think that politics is boring and
unrelated to their life. The economy, the tax rate, and security are all
things that can directly affect your life. Sometimes it may be stressful or
annoying to worry about these kinds of big problems. But if we don’t
participate in voting, we lose any kind of control over the sorts of
governments our country has. At best, this is irresponsible, and at worst,
it can be dangerous.

Democracy is relatively new in world history, existing in its modern form
for at most 200 years. Indeed, in many countries democracy might have only
come about one or two generations ago. Around the world, many people still
fight and die for the right to participate in politics, and the right to
vote is something that our ancestors may have struggled for whether in
protests, revolutions, or wars.

For this reason, it is the responsibility of all voters to learn as much as
they can and participate in voting, even when it seems boring or tiresome.
This is true even if we don’t like any candidates or parties that are
running for office. Otherwise, we could find our countries being led by a
minority of voters in a way that few of us actually agree with.

What will you do on Election Day?

| - | 04:30 | comments(0) | - | ↑TOP
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