High school student
Essay themes: Making voting easier, voter registration, modifying term limits, how candidates alienate the people, political education
JAMES C GRICE
ERIN J MARTELL
NATHAN D MEADE
AMANDA R. MCADOO
BRYNNE K BELINGER
Essay themes: Making voting easier, voter registration, modifying term limits, how candidates alienate the people, political education
Voter turnout is declining because of all groups of people. It's not just the poor, middle class or wealthy not voting, it's everyone. Though it's estimated that very young (18-25 years old) and very old (70 and up) vote less than middle-aged people, there are many things that can be done to get everyone voting. In the United States, voting is a right that is severely taken for granted. In other countries, people view voting as a privilege and sometimes an obligation. Some countries send tickets or fines to citizens who don't vote. However, compulsory voting would not be constitutional. It would serve as an eye opener if people were told they were going to be fined or denied further right to vote if they did not vote in every election, though.
In the U.S., it's not that people are indifferent to the issues, voting is merely inconvenient. With the technology of today's society, people should be able to vote online from personal computers. A special effort should not have to be made to go to a crowded school or community center to stand in line to vote. Furthermore, if term limits are lengthened or if all term limits were on the same election schedule, many elections would be eliminated and the elections would seem more important. Citizens should be allowed to register to vote the same day as elections take place. Some states currently allow this, but some do not. There are ways to make sure people don't register in one city and vote, and then do the same in another city. There is no need to worry about another Boss Tweed and Tamany Hall situation where voters were instructed to "vote early and vote often."
Today's generations have lost sight of political parties and have lost interest in key political leaders. Statistics have shown that lowering the voting age and giving women and African Americans the right to vote have done little to help the plummeting voting participation. Where are the campaign staffers who went on voter registration drives on college campuses or in retirement communities? Where are the notes on mailboxes and doorknob hangers reminding people to vote? Where has the "legitimate competitive struggle for people's votes" (Joseph Schumpter) gone? Where is the transportation for inner-city people and shut-ins to take them to vote? Why have political figures made themselves seem untouchable and surreal? People can no longer identify with political parties anymore due to undefined partisan lines. People cannot feel passionate about something that looks bland. People don't care to see five men, saying absolutely nothing, berating each other to make themselves look better. No one wants to hear "I have six children and nineteen grandchildren I've been there, done that." (Orrin Hatch, former Republican presidential candidate) No one cares who's been here, there or anywhere. People want and need to know how the candidate feels about issues they deem important. Citizens need to know that their voices are being heard and that their vote counts for something more than statistical data. When was the last time a political figure spoke to a high school or retirement facility out of the goodness of their heart, and not to campaign for election? Voting will continue to decline until candidates become more human.
People need to be educated about politics and government. People want to know that their vote will count and that it is possible for them to make a difference. Education is key to bringing back disillusioned voters and to making someone want to vote for the first time. Ignorance fosters apathy. Education must fill the void to stop the decline in voting.
Essay themes: Creating interest in government participation, government simulation in school
Political participation by young people is plummeting. This disturbing trend must change in the near future. Without the participation of our youth in politics, our nation will be without its future leaders. Many proposed solutions to this problem have been offered including lowering the voting age, making Election Day a holiday, Internet voting, and other reforms. So far, none have worked. Political participation among the youth of our nation has still plummeted and will continue to do so unless major reforms are made.
Political participation has plummeted not only among the youth of our nation, but has done so across the board in all age brackets. In the 1950s and 1960s, voter participation in presidential elections was consistently above 60%. Since then, participation has not reached 55%. In my opinion, this means that since the 1960s, there has been a decline in the patriotism of America. After World War II, patriotism in America was at its peak. Political participation in American reflected this. After the Vietnam War though, patriotism declined, and has not returned since. To solve this, reforms must be made in the teaching of Government in school. As a high school senior currently taking Government, I can understand why people do not want to become involved in politics. In many classes, students learn textbook government, memorizing the names of the Supreme Court Justices, Congressional leadership, and other facts. This may achieve the desired effect of students understanding how our government is supposed to work, but it also kills all interest in becoming involved in government. After all, how much of this information is important to the average 17 year-old student. To increase participation in politics, our youth must realize that government is interesting and has many real effects on them.
Students at my high school are involved in an on-line political simulation run through the University of Michigan called Conflix. In Conflix, students character play real-life Senators and Congressman, and engage in political debates on various issues through the eyes of their real-life characters. The simulation becomes even more interesting when behind the scenes deals and scandals enter the game. When students debate using the beliefs of Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond, or Dianne Feinstein, the game becomes highly competitive and students try to make their characters as influential as possible. As an ex-player and mentor of the simulation, I can honestly say that the simulation teaches students that politics can not only be interesting, but also that if they get involved, they can help make decisions that will affect everybody. If we integrate simulations such as into our traditional Government classes, not only will students learn more useful information about our Government; they will also want to become more involved in politics. Also, competition enters as students try to become the most influential characters in the game. This further promotes learning as students must understand both the issues and the way our government works to be successful. Through simulations such as Conflix, students will not only access the Internet, a media that is interesting to everybody; they will also become more interested in our Government and the political process. Two years ago, as a high school sophomore, I had no interest in our government. I knew who the President and Vice President were, but that was the extent of my knowledge. The reason for this is that I had not yet learned that Government could be interesting. After participating in Conflix though, this changed. Now, I take a much more active role in participating in government.
Right now I'm only 17, but I turn 18 before the elections this November, and I will definitely vote. When Election Day comes, I will be able to make an informed vote based on who I believe will lead our nation in the best possible manner. I know of many people who will neither vote nor care who wins this November; it is people such as these that traditional Government classes have failed. Unless these people learn as I have, that politics is both interesting and important, they will never participate in politics. Political participation by young people is plummeting. Through effective education about our government, we can change this disturbing trend. When this happens, our nation will be secure when the youth of our nation become the leaders of our nation.
Essay themes: Low voter turnout, lowering the voting age,
government classes in high schools
Why should the youth care about their country when their parents don't? Why should the youth care about their country when their country doesn't care about them? The youth of America needs to understand that the government has a hand in their everyday life. The government has set law 'for the well being' of the youth. Some of these laws consist of, the alcohol age limit of 21, driving age of 16 and voting age 18. The government does not respect youth, as an adult until they are 18 but the government feels adults can not drink until they are three years into their adulthood. While government has set laws for the youth, the youth don't have a legal voice on these laws until they are 18. The teens of America must follow these laws and can not vote; yet they have to pay taxes. Politicians may visit schools and kiss babies, but do they really care about what the teens think? The government does not think twice about making laws for the youth, how about listening to the youth? If the politicians were to listen to the adolescence of America, would the youth have anything to say? Considering the majority of the youth does not care or follow politics, they may be unaware of any possible views to retain.
A feasible solution is to have a yearlong government/politics class available for high school seniors. This course would help future voters develop their views on different political issues and how each issue effects them. These students would also learn about the procedure of voting. Students could do a research paper on the politician they believe in. By the end of the course each student would have picked a politician to vote on and further, each student would have views on political issues. This course will encourage students to voice their opinion by voting. I feel that it is sad that Americans do not realize the wonderful right they have of voting. I also understand after years of the government, what they like, the majority of people speaking up for what they believe in.
Since I am unable to speak my opinion as in a form of voting, it is extremely frustrating that the government has made laws for me and I have to wait to voice my opinion until age 18. Youth need to recognize that the government has countless effects on their lives. If youth can learn about the government, they can use their knowledge of the politics to create a change and their voice can be heard. Help will be required because, unfortunately the youth can not make a difference on their own. Since the youth will not be heard until they are adults, the adults of today need to speak the voice of the youth. A change can be make by anyone who is willing to care about his or her future America.
Essay themes: Making voting easier, voting via Internet or phone
The dilemma of low voter turnout is a very sad and mysterious phenomenon in American politics. The reasons for not participating in the very process that hundreds of thousands of Americans have shed their own blood and died for certainly are as varied and different as the fifty states of our union. The generation of today's young adults will be the foundation of America's tomorrow, and encouraging participation in the democratic process today will help secure a representative and dependable government in the future. Some of the reasons given by today's young non-voters are definitely worth closer scrutiny, and could easily be overcome, resulting in increased participation in the political process.
Perhaps the number one reason that would get more college age people not participating in the political process can be summarized in one word: "convenience." Let's face it, the bureaucratic process that must be traversed today is not exactly streamlined and efficient, but rather time consuming and very "inconvenient." Hence, many young people who meet the requirements to vote do not. Having gone through the process myself while in college, I can tell you what a hassle it is to contact my dad and ask him to contact the township so they can send me an application for an absentee ballot, which then I have to mail back to them and then wait for my ballot, and then send that back in too. Plus, all this has to be done within a certain deadline in advance of the election! Now, imagine how simple it would be for me on election day to go down to the local secretary of state's office with my driver's license, fill out an absentee ballot application on site, and at the same time be able to vote using the ballot of my home town that could be downloaded and printed from the internet? Or, even better, if I could just walk to a voting site located right on my campus that would serve thousands of potential voters, and do the same thing? And what if I didn't need to be pre-registered to vote, but could fill out just one form requesting registration and an absentee ballot, so I wouldn't have to change my permanent address on my driver's license, all at the same time? But, perhaps the ultimate in "convenience" would be just to log on to my computer, register, apply for an absentee ballot, and vote all electronically, online. Imagine, no more red tape, no more hoops to jump through, no more missed deadlines, just pure, unadulterated American Democracy! Now, that's "convenience."
Another possibility would be to vote over the phone, and surely this is not too far fetched, seeing as how I already pay my taxes that way. And if my address hasn't changed, then why couldn't I just use the same access code that I get with my taxes every year? Think of the savings in paperwork and man-hours from having to man voting stations, tally ballots by hand, and deal with the mountains of forms. I can't imagine why it wouldn't also catch on with older voters too, thereby increasing their participation in the democratic process as well.
I don't know if you've heard these suggestions before, or if some of them like internet voting are already in the works, but I would encourage you to pursue these options as viable ideas to get greater numbers of people, especially the younger generations, voting. Of course, not all will participate, as there are many people out there who are disillusioned with government, political partisanship or just apathetic to politics in general. For these people, I don't have any easy answers.
This joint effort between the Center for Voting and Democracy and the Midwest Democracy Center is a noble and commendable one. A high degree of participation in the political process by young people, and by the American public in general, should be a hallmark of our country, and it is a shame that it is not. It is a disservice to the memories of those who fought and died for us to be free that we who enjoy that freedom take it for granted, and don't take part in it by choosing those who would govern us. I find it to be incredibly ironic that people are so quick to complain about the government, but then when given the opportunity to do something about it, refuse to. If you want to complain about an elected official, and you voted for the other guy, fine, but if you didn't vote at all, then you have no right to complain, because it is in part your own fault for not exercising your right to vote.
In conclusion, if there are convenient and easy methods to participate in the democratic process, then more people will be involved with it. Some suggestions are to be able to register, apply for an absentee ballot, and vote all at the same time, and to do it without a lot of effort or time such as by phone or online. More young people involved today will mean more of the general populace involved tomorrow, which means a better, more representative, and attentive government in the future.
Essay themes: Internet voting
"There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see." Voting is the most powerful right citizens of America have to exercise, yet most choose to ignore that right. As William James stated, voting brings about the most good in the world, and the push to get younger voters out on election day is an important step in the right direction. With technology expanding every day, an effective way to raise the percentage of voters is to open up voting on the Internet.
Voting on the Internet would be beneficial in several ways. First it would benefit those who are out of state on election day, but still wish to take part in voting. They would be able to get on the Internet, vote, and not have to worry about sending in an absentee ballot. Second, the use of the Internet is becoming larger all the time, as 3000 people log on for the first time every day. For those who use the Internet frequently, which tend to be the younger generations, voting would become less of a hassle and more would be likely to vote. Third, Internet voting would also interest those who are under the voting age, getting them interested in registering to vote when they turn eighteen.
Those opposing Internet voting might argue that it is not confidential, yet with technology changing every day, people are making purchases online, finalizing business deals, even applying for scholarships online. Measures would have to be taken to insure voter's confidentiality, but that is a minor bump in an important road to achieving higher voting numbers. Increasing the number of voters is important to me because I feel that living in America, there are so many privileges that many people ignore. By voting, it shows that a person is interested in what happens to our country and they have the power to either stay at the status quo or to change things.
People who do not vote, yet complain about America are only contradicting themselves. They have the power to change the way politics are going, but they come up with the excuse that they're too busy. With the addition of Internet voting though, many could go on their computers at work and take five minutes to add their say in what happens to America. Internet voting wouldn't solve all the problems of urging more people to vote on Election Day, but it is one giant step towards the right direction. Younger people are familiar with the Internet, and many would rather take advantage of the Internet option for convenience. As William James said, to vote and therefore to act will bring about the most good, which is what Internet voting and other incentives are trying to do in the end.
Essay themes: Influence of money in politics, complexity of political system, homogenizing of youth
You can't handle the truth! The truth is that many students AND adults (young and old) across America are disinterested in the whole political structure. One reason why this indifference exists is that the political process has forgotten its' only purpose. The well-oiled political machine that we nostalgically call democracy is fueled by capital from it's abundantly funded sources, not the citizens' ideas and input. Somewhere in the machine is the firm belief that democracy should be about improving the lives of it's youth and it's children. This magic place is truly hidden by excessive media exposure on senseless areas(which have little to do with actively improving the lives of American citizens), political bureaucracy that slows down the force of implementing bills and laws that the "common" American deserves and supports, and the expediency and efficiency of the political system to implement laws and bills that have negative consequences on humans and the environment, but simultaneously benefit international commerce and industrial development.
Most of the political bills that make it to Congress at the state or national level have little to do with the youth, but rather the maintenance of power and control in "adult" spheres of interest such as taxes, mileage, chemical utilization, and weapons. The political system seems to respond favorably and swiftly to those topics and concerns, which revolve around money, yet the children and youth of America and the world CAN NOT be measured with a dollar amount. We are not really heard and felt....YET. We are not really believed and trusted, and our opinions and concerns have the weight and mass as a down feather near the moon's surface.
Therefore we reciprocate your indifference by killing our classmates and teachers, ignoring your time-given wisdom and support, distrusting your political decisions because of their opaque qualities, violating your laws and customs that have little relevance to the time in which we live, and killing ourselves. Our actions reflect those of the political system that some wish to preserve. These observations are from a fairly clear-minded, rational thinking tax-paying American citizen that actually VOTES. Many of the voting centers in my district are housed in schools and churches. Schools and churches have been traditionally, systematically, and strategically used in the assimilation process and the de-personalization of young minds and ideas. What is the probability of a young adult returning to the very locations that helped destroy its uniqueness(via cultural seasoning with mass media assistance) and frowned upon spontaneous expression that "clashes" with the norms imposed by his /her community? The probability is indeed very low, just like the political impact that young Americans exert upon their country. These thoughts are similar to the thoughts shared by many Americans who are being mocked and ignored simply because they believe in the America, I mean human belief that we have a right and responsibility to participate in the process that determines how individuals and communities live. The political process does not have a basis for existence if it is not being used for the betterment of AS MANY LIVES AS POSSIBLE. Many of our actions are intertwined and affect so many different areas. Therefore, it is senseless and illogical to assume that only the "people who participate in the political system need be affected" Hence, it seems clear that steps must be taken to re-create and/or eliminate the entire current political process based on the input of as many American citizens as possible. Many Americans, both young and old, could express that the Information Age has given us enough knowledge and logic to live happy, healthy productive lives without the support of a political process. These same Americans are likely to see the futility in preserving and improving a system that requires so many complex segments such as voting districts, state representatives, electoral ballots, caucuses, and primary nominees. Their viewpoint is supported by logic that appeals to basic reason: If it needs all this work, it really doesn't work at all.
Essay themes: Internet voting, expansion of initiative and referendum, increasing political education
The most eminent concept in our nation's government is that of freedom. Along with this concept is the idea that each individual has the power to control their government by choosing certain people to represent their ideas and opinions. An individual's vote is their "voice" which tells those members of government that their constituents have similar views and trust that they will carry out the job that they have promised to do. Although the word "democracy" may give the false impression that each individual votes on a proposal in hopes of it becoming a law, our representative republic system has worked for over 200 years successfully. A study performed to show that political participation by young people was plummeting in the late 20th century found that 24% of young voters do not trust the government, and another 79% stated that they did not have a trustworthy source for information on candidate's backgrounds and issue positions. There are three innovative reforms or electoral rules that would increase political participation among young people: Internet voting, expansion of initiative and referendum, and an increase in political education.
The first innovative and most technologically inclined reform is voting via the Internet. With the growth of the Internet and computer technology, many young Americans have chosen to do various activities at home that they would have otherwise left home to accomplish. Though it is no excuse, most young people feel that registering to vote and even voting is very low on their priority list, because it isn't exciting or new. Nor will they gain anything from it. And even though it encourages inertness, it would be successful. Recent studies have shown that 70% of young voters use the World Wide Web for their main source for political information. Many web-surfers would stumble across a "ballot site" that would inform the voter of each candidate, and instructions on how to select a candidate. The ballot-containing web site could be advertised on many Internet locations popular among young people to ensure its popularity. Even though, the use of the Internet to vote may also create inaccuracies in elections. With the ballots being so openly advertised many would take advantage of the process and tamper with the votes to rig the outcome of the elections. One possibility is the requirement of a photo I.D. or a Social Security number to assure the legality of each vote counted. If the ballot web site could be protected against hacking, the use of the Internet to vote would not hurt the electoral system, but increase participation among younger Americans.
Another innovative reform that would incline voter turnout among young Americans would be to increase initiative and referendums by politicians, thus educating more people of their ideas and stances on certain issues. Many voters become educated about candidates on their own. Since young voters have different priorities on issues than those of older voters, the information, if they found it, would most likely be useless. To catch the votes of America's youth, candidates should run their campaign ads on a wider variety of networks such as MTV, Comedy Central, or ESPN. This would increase the chances of younger viewers seeing and hearing the candidates. If candidates were to increase the amount of information they put out about themselves or increase the amount of time they spend answering voter's questions at public debates, their popularity and vote would most likely increase. Scheduled debates in less formal locations by local candidates would decrease the time a potential voter must spend hunting out candidate's ideas and positions on issues. This would also allow voters to personally question the candidates and form their own opinion of the candidates rather than hearing it from others. This would be difficult for national candidates because of the time expense and geographical factors, but it would increase voting among the younger voters immensely.
The third and final resourceful idea that would motivate young voters to express their suffrage would be to broaden the education of politics in and outside of school. The reason most young people do not vote is because they do not understand the issues involved in American politics. Although schools do teach American history and the formation of our country and its government, they do not teach the importance of a democracy or the internal workings of the government. Even if government classes are required, they are only offered for a semester, hardly enough time to understand governmental issues and proceedings clearly. Students should be required to learn American government for at least a year of their pre-collegiate education. U.S. Government could also be added to exams such as the A.C.T. or S.A.T. exams to ensure that young America's knowledge of politics and government is up to par. Political education could also be offered as an extra curricular program. The importance of these types of activities would lead many college bound students to get involved. They could be offered at community colleges, community centers, or even the library. Education is the most powerful tool a man can possess, and with a keen knowledge of the American political system, the future of our country would have a pleasant outlook. This reform would be the most realistic and most prosperous of each of those aforementioned.
Voting through the Internet, an increase of initiative and referendum by politicians, and an expansion of political education are only three of many ways to change the electoral system in our government that would positively effect the attitude of young America toward voting. None of these reforms can be determined successful or unsuccessful until they have been implemented for those in need of more political interest. The sad fact that the voter turnout has rarely been above 50% in the last decade makes many teens want to stand up and spread the knowledge and power involved with the vote. A government that is "for the people, by the people, and of the people" can hardly be considered valid if the American youth do not recognize the history and purpose of the most unique, most equal, and most successful of all governments.
Essay themes: Identifying with candidates, ways for youth to be involved, political power of young people
On June 7, 1998, an African?American man was tied up behind a pick up truck and dragged until his body fell apart. What should have happened to the killers? On September 11, 1998, the Starr Report, which dealt with President Clinton's relations with Monica Lewinsky, was released to the public. Did it have any business being crafted in the first place? On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School and unleashed hell's fury into a small Colorado town. Should guns be further regulated? On June 24, 1999, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make flag burning illegal. Should Congress be allowed to limit free speech? On October 19, 1999, the U.S. Senate voted to defeat McCain?Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. Who should have the upper hand in American politics, big businesses or individuals?
Hate Crimes. The accountability of our elected officials. Gun control. Freedom of Speech. Campaign Finance Reform. These are some of the issues that have been recently plastered across our newspapers, echoed over our airwaves, and debated among all generations. Being that we represent the future of the nation, we are obligated to have a feeling on these matters. Not only do we often know exactly what these issues entail, but also we possess strong feelings about them. It would make sense, then, that we would do something about these strong feelings. Yeah...that would make sense. But wait, one more headline has screeched across the nation's field of vision: Only twenty?four percent of 18?29 year olds voted in the 1996 Presidential Election.
Our parents were the baby boomer generation. Ours is a generation yet?to?be?named, so we are stuck with an "X." We are good at taking sides and depending on the issue; we are even skilled at putting up a good fight for our beliefs. We hold candlelight vigils, we write gripping prose, we wear buttons and stickers touting our beliefs, but when it comes to signing our names to those beliefs, we fall flat on our faces. There is no other way to put it: we lose.
On the issues facing America today, we abstain from voicing our opinion in a way that counts. We elect the representatives that voted on President Clinton's Impeachment. We elect the leaders that vote on Hate Crimes legislation. You get the picture. Let's look at an example about which we can actually still do something: the 2000 Presidential Election. There are several candidates running, and unless our generation gets moving, America will elect itself a president regardless of what we think. Regardless of the potent beliefs that we hold dear, they all stand for nothing come November. Scary, isn't it? I sure thought so. I opted to do something about it.
Personally, I am a Republican, so I have several candidates to examine: George W. Bush and John McCain being the major two. So...now what? I examined the records of both, and found a correlation between John McCain and myself on one issue: Campaign Finance Reform. McCain believes that campaigns are funded too heavily by big businesses, and that can be attributed to why Members of Congress, and even presidents, do what they do: they follow the money. Pretty cogent argument, eh? McCain believes that changing how campaigns get their funding is the most important issue in the election because, well, it infects all of the other issues. It doesn't really matter how a candidate feels about education or welfare or social security; for, without insuring that our leaders vote based on their constituents rather than on who contributes most to their re?election effort, our democracy stands for nothing.
So, I liked McCain and made a point of meeting him when he came to town. I was ready for disappointment, though. In 1996, I met with another candidate seeking the White House, and he couldn't kick me out the door fast enough. I later realized that the man had no patience for young people. In '96, I came to understand the two realities of politics: the TV reality versus the in?person reality. I was ready to be disappointed by John McCain. At the end of his question and answer session at a local community college, my friends and I stood in the back of the auditorium, hoping to get a quick picture. As he was walking out, he saw us...
"Hey guys, get over here!" McCain yelled out to us with a smile. We sauntered over to him.
"Um, Senator McCain, if we could just get a quick picture...," I muttered.
"Yeah, you'll get a picture, but I gotta lecture you for forty?five minutes first," he shot back with a wink. So there my friends and I stood, listening to John McCain tell us about his vision for America, asking our opinions and giving us his, telling us that we need to get involved. After all, he reminded us, "It's your future." From that moment on, realizing that the guy really cared about youth, and agreeing with him on reforming campaigns, I knew whom I had to support in 2000. Later that day I took a job chairing the national teen effort for McCain's campaign. It's that easy, really. Just find a candidate with whom you can see eye?to?eye, support him, and vote for him. That is what our generation needs to realize in order to become involved in our political system: that one person, one voice, can make all the difference in the world.
Our generation can sell?out concerts, make movies over?night hits, and determine which clothes are hot and which are just not. No wonder we are stuck with the "X," as we've not really done anything at all, have we? Let's change that now; let's craft a name for our generation. We are sick of this "X" stuff; we deserve a real designation. We can cast history to remember that, "On November 7, 2000, the youth of America found their voice." Maybe, though, we never lost it. We just didn't know how to use it.
AMANDA R. MCADOO
Essay themes: Lowering the voting age, election day voter registration, election day holiday, ballot access
As I consider the proposed changes in our system of electing individuals to public office, the ones that I feel I can most closely identify with are lowering the voting age, election day voter registration, making election day a holiday, internet voting, better access to ballots for third party voters and independents, and required debates between all candidates.
Lowering the voting age to at least 16 presents itself as an advantage because almost all of the issues which are being voted on have an effect on young people. For example, in the city where I live, there was a vote on whether or not to establish three new casinos in the downtown area. When three new casinos are built for people to attend and try their luck, one can almost guarantee that some of the people who attend have children. If someone gambles away just a bit more than they need to, that means that money that may have been needed for groceries or rent and other necessities ends up in casino owners' pockets. Therefore, the children will suffer. Who says only people 18 and older are affected by these issues?
Another reason that many young people are not exactly racing to the voting booths is simply, it is too much trouble just getting registered. In order to register to vote, I must go to the nearest Secretary of State office and fill out a few forms. However, doing that may be quite an inconvenience for some people. They may not have the time to go to the office and sit and wait for someone to give them a form. They may say, "Forget it!" and never register.
Making election day a holiday would be a wonderful idea. So many young people are overwhelmed with school, home, and community activities. Suppose I attend school from 8 am to 2 pm. I remain for an after school play rehearsal, which ends at 4 pm. I then call my mom, who drives me to church for choir practice until 6 pm. Suppose it is election day, and the polls are only open from 12 pm to 7 pm. I have had a full day of school work and practice, and I still have homework to do. It would be perfect for me to have this day off so that I could go to vote on election day. It would be a holiday. People would go to vote, then be able to come back and rest.
Internet use is steadily increasing. One can shop, plan vacations, prepare taxes, and do other things all without ever having to leave their homes. I am submitting this essay online because it is much quicker and easier. Likewise, registering to vote over the internet saves time and inconvenience. Why go to an office to register, when I can stay home, and do it at the touch of a button?
The two major political parties in this country are Democratic and Republican. Third parties do exist, but in order for them to receive the recognition they deserve, they must be publicized as much as the major two. Part of the reason while some people may not vote is that they do not hold strictly Democratic or Republican views. They may believe that they are not adequately being represented, therefore they will not participate in the voting process.
Required debates between each candidate, regardless of party orientation, is helpful because every side of every issue is heard. The voters, in turn, can weigh their options, and reach an intelligent conclusion. Certain groups of people do not feel slighted because only the two major parties have spoken, and even that was done in an over dramatized manner with TV commercials.
As a proud African American young woman, I am aware of the
obstacles my people have endured to receive the right to vote.
If America is going to maintain democratic status, I believe
all of its people should feel that they are able to go out and
vote for its officers, and feel comfortable in the process.