High school student
Essay themes: Automatic registration, making voting easier, Election Day off and Internet voting, eliminating the Electoral College
In the past several decades, voter participation has been plummeting dramatically. The most notable decline has been the vote of young people. Although the percentage of young voters who participate has always been poor, in recent years it has reached an all time low. Yet there are ways to increase low turnouts, with simple reform and legislation, especially among young voters. The most obvious reasons for low voter turnout are the registration and voting processes.
Even though registration takes a short amount of time and is relatively simple, many people do not see it as productive time and are either too busy or too apathetic to register. A simple solution to this problem would be to make all citizens automatically registered when they turn 18. Countries in which automatic registration has been instituted have significantly higher voter turnouts than the United States. Young people would not have to take time out of their hectic lives to register, and automatic registration would eliminate a step in the whole process.
Another way to make voting more convenient for young people is either to move Election Day to a weekend day, or to make it a federal holiday every year, not just for presidential years. Many young adults are either in college or working, and it is sometimes a problem to try to find time to vote on a Tuesday. With Election Day on a Saturday or a Sunday, college students could take a few minutes to visit a voting place and exercise their civil duty without worrying about classes or studying.
Several other ways to increase young voter participation are with online voting and campus campaigning. Since a large number of young voters are in college, many are out of state around election time. For out of state students, voting must take place by absentee ballot, which can be troublesome and time-consuming. Most college students are busy with classes and studying, and do not have the time or patience to send away for an absentee ballot and fill out the forms. With the advent of the Internet, online voting may be feasible for presidential and congressional elections in the near future. Although there is the possibility of voter fraud, that could be eliminated by establishing authorized polling places on campus, where students vote online under the supervision of government officials. Online voting would dispense the inconvenience of absentee ballots and increase young voter participation. Another option is to legislate that every presidential candidate is required to campaign at a designated number of college campuses around the country. Each candidate would visit randomly chosen universities from every region of the nation. College campaigning would ensure that young people receive enough attention and their issues are addressed.
Another option to increase voter turnout is to eliminate the Electoral College. Removing the electoral process and basing the Presidential election solely on popular vote would make each vote seem more important. Many young people see their vote as insignificant due to the current electoral rules. Since the Constitution was first ratified, the President has been elected by an Electoral College, whose members are elected by each state legislature. With the elimination of the Electoral College, every vote would count directly to the election of the President. As a result, voters, especially the young people, may see their vote as important and cast it. Destroying the current electoral process can positively affect voter participation.
Voter participation is important to young people. Since the turnout of young voters is so low, many candidates fail to address their issues and do not campaign to win the young vote. Middle age and senior citizens are the main focus of candidates, due to the much larger percentage of participation by those groups. Since office-seekers do not cater to young people, issues that pertain to their future and their interests are avoided. The privilege to vote is not held in enough esteem by today's society and that is a problem because it deters voting. Without exercising his right to vote, a citizen has no say in his government. Low voter turnout is a pressing dilemma in today's society. Poor percentages result in more apathy and thus even lower turnouts. Legislation and reform are key to increasing voter participation from young people.