Essay themes: Dissipate the existing political parties and establish term limits for state representatives and senators
Essay themes: Dissipate the existing political parties and establish term limits for state representatives and senators
It is no secret that I despise politics and I do not vote. When asked, "How would you change the electoral system to raise the number of young voters," I would simply reply, "I would dissipate the existing political parties and establish term limits for state representatives and senators. It appears to be an "out with the old in with the new" philosophy, but I truly believe that it would work. By dissipating the existing parties you allow for new ideas. Granted, those ideas would never be agreed upon, but it would introduce new perspectives.
The way the system is set up now, any candidate outside the Republican and Democratic parties will not succeed in an attempt to run for the presidential office. The same is true in respects to women and any candidate that is of any minority. The fact is, the President of the United States will be always be an old white man with strong political convictions unless we change the manner in which Congress is divided now. I will not speak for my entire generation, but I would like to see someone other than a politician run for office. During the election where Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, and Steve Forbes ran against each other in the presidential election, I did not vote for Bob or Bill. Both men have been in Congress for a number of years. In my opinion, they are too set in their ways to change. I would be more willing to go down to the voting booth if the candidate were flexible and not affiliated with a party. The parties are too busy disagreeing with each other that they don't accomplish anything.
As well as the dissipation of the parties, establishing term limits for state representatives and senators. Right now I'd bet that close to half of the current Congress members have been in their respective positions for over five years. During the time they have spent in the Congress they have had much persuasion from their fellow party members. They have been coerced into feeling certain ways regarding certain issues. Few party members will side with "the other guy." After being in a position for an extended period of time, people tend to get comfortable. I fear that some politicians are so well liked by the elderly population, that they will never be voted out. This is causing a problem. By harboring the VIP's of Congress we are once again shutting out the new ideas. Young people want young people. Unfortunately that will never happen unless we establish term limits for Congress members. In the United States today, elderly people are living much longer than they used to. The vast majority of today's population is elderly. The elderly tend to have the same views as some of our "older" Congress members.
Therefore, it doesn't matter how many young people vote, their votes will go unseen and unheard because their aren't as many of us as there are of them. I am not a Harvard student and I'm not a political tycoon. I am a single mother who feels that it is pointless to vote. I watch political debates on TV from time to time, but I still feel the same. The people that we have allowed to stay in Congress are too old to manage this young and growing country. In order to persuade the "non-white-haired" people to vote, we need to present someone worth voting for. The perfect example of my point is Jesse the Body Ventura. It was not hard for him to obtain the title of Governor.
By dissipating the parties and setting term limits for politicians, I'm sure that the people of the younger generations would vote. This will happen sooner or later. I think it would be greatly approved of if the Congress took affirmative action and began these processes now rather than let us do it when our elders are gone.
SARA M GOERS
Essay themes: Increased political education, making registration a requirement, making voting more convenient, making information on candidates more accessible
As the twenty-first century begins, a reflection on the past is necessary in order to determine the good and the bad, as well as the changes that must be made in order to move forward. In the era where technology is all and communication is more vital than ever, it is crucial to voice one's opinion. Many of today's young people have been raised to become disrespectful, ignorant moochers. They talk back to adults, don't know a thing about what is happening in the world and do just enough to get by. With young people such as these, it is no wonder the political participation of 18-25 year olds is plummeting. Maybe the fault of the problem lies with the parents. After all, parenting is only one of the most difficult and demanding jobs on the planet and not everyone can excel at it. Perhaps the problem lies in the school system; it's the teachers that are not doing their job. The students are not learning enough to be able to function as a member of society. Right? Wrong. There are many factors the problem could be blamed on, but the only true deserving group is the young people themselves.
The old saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink," holds true. One can do all in their power to try to teach and assist young people. But ultimately, the only thing that will change a situation is finding the desire to make a change within one's self. Without that internal desire, young people will end up no better off than bumps on a log.
However, with a few minor external changes and a bit of encouragement, the "fire on the inside" will be fanned rather than extinguished. If it were a graduation requirement to take an additional government class as a senior that focused more in-depth on voting processes, political campaigns and encouraging active involvement in politics by voting, the knowledge of the political system would increase significantly. By providing the information in a manner that demonstrates the benefits to the young people, they would be more likely to get involved with politics. Proving what the young people would gain through the voting process would be a lesson not soon forgotten.
Offering some sort of incentive has often been a successful method in achieving a goal. Perhaps a reward for registering to vote could be issued to promote the process. Or better yet, make registering to vote a requirement upon turning 18, like males registering for the select service. Then follow up with the importance of communicating their desires to be better represented in the community, state and nation. Making more of the opportunity to vote would also add to the cause.
By taking away options of things to do on voting day, more people would show up to cast their vote. For example, if voting day was made into a holiday, or even a half-holiday, young people would be more likely to head to the polls. Providing registration at the voting site is another way to ease the process and encourage involvement. Rather than making one trip to register and another to vote, doing both at once would save time and money for the voter. Polling places in more of a variety of locations would also up the numbers of young people heading to the polls. Making it less of a hardship would make more young people willing to vote.
Readily available materials on candidates, their platforms and their goals would be an important piece to the puzzle. Placement of brochures and fliers containing information on the election [put out by a non-profit organization so it only offers facts, not one-sided propaganda] in high-traffic areas, like post offices and gas stations, would expand the pool of people making a voting decision. The convenience of such changes is an encouragement and would be received well among the nation's population of young people. If young people heed the importance of voting between 18 and 25, the country could very well be a different place in the next few elections. It is pertinent for them to voice their comments and concerns about issues relevant to their age group that may have a different level of importance to another age group. By making known the things they feel strongly about, they are making a place for themselves in the society of politics.
Paving the way for an active, well-represented future in our nation's political system starts today...with a trip down the road to register to vote, the opening of a newspaper to read about current political activities or the turning on of a television to watch the evening news. By becoming informed and being involved, the young people of today will soon be the kind of political leaders worth voting for tomorrow.
Essay themes: Honest candidates, open primaries
Day in and day out I sit in the classrooms at the local high school and talk about people's obligations as citizens. Every person, no matter their culture or background, has an obligation to the United States of America to vote for candidates on election days. People need to understand that we live in the greatest country, the wealthiest country, and a country that's growing in posterity. We can't let political bureaucrats slip through the voting lines just to get to Washington D.C. Truth of the matter is; people don't care. You ask, why they don't care? Every year, the voter turnout percentage either decreases or stays close to the same number as the previous year.
America is becoming a fast pace, do it right, or don't do it at all kind of nation. That's what these people see. They turn on their television and find another scandal emerging from the White House, from the Senate, from the FBI. They don't want to see this. And as America grows and prospers, routine becomes the fact of life. Each person has a set routine everyday. That's how we can keep up in this fast paced world. Voters don't want to ruin their routine by going out of their way to vote. They want to stick on one path. The fastest path. And it's too bad our country has come to this. And honestly, I'll tell you what will get voters to the booths! Examples have been given to process the registration and voting methods online. By putting voters to the test online, they subject themselves to costly mistakes. Instead of clicking on ALAN KEYES they hit ORIN HATCH and then submit. You only get one vote. Mistakes will riddle the online voting realm. Also, not everybody feels too secure about the Internet. Who is to say that the voting can't be "hacked" or "biased" in a way to ruin the outcome? What about those people who don't have Internet capabilities? When they go out to the booth, it's going to be lonely having to vote seemingly by themselves, while others sit at home and cast a vote from a chair. Is that fair? Should they be required to have Internet capabilities? The answer is? No! When I think of voting reform for the 21st century, I think of five possibilities.
First of all, the average man/woman doesn't want to see their own government being destroyed by bureaucrats when they come home from a hard days work. They want an honest man or woman in the elected office that they can trust. You can't put a bible to someone's hand and swear them in as President of the United States, and have them turn around and commit unjust acts within the office of the presidency and commit perjury towards allegations. Voters don't want liars. They want representatives that they can trust and commit a long-term relationship to by voting for them. It is simple. Put a candidate in the office that appeals to the general public, with no history of political scandals, no history of illegal alcohol or drug abuse, and no history of acts of crime.
Secondly, voting ballots for a State's Primary would be an open ticket. By making the ticket a straight party line ticket voters don't get the freedom of making their own choices and the gratitude of knowing they voted by their own beliefs. In my opinion, if someone of a particular party wants to vote outside the party, they are welcomed to do so.
Thirdly, State Primary elections would be shortened and spanned over a three-day period. By dividing the nation into three separate but equal sectors, it eliminates the bias showed towards one or two candidates. With the current system, a voter in one state votes because they have an early primary. But, when another person in a different state has an upcoming primary half way through the process, they see that obviously there may be a winner, and they choose not to vote; because in the back of their minds they're thinking that their vote does not count. Having a three-day primary election would eliminate any early bias.
Fourth of all, come August of the Presidential Election Year, three party debates should take place. With Ross Perot founding the Reform Party, they usually have a somewhat strong candidate that should be considered for the election. Having televised debates with parties that have strong candidates would give the voter much needed information each of the candidates. And for those that only have a television as their media source, they would see real politics up close and personal to give them an advantage at the voting booth. Lastly, media coverage of political candidates is steadily decreasing. Why? Because the media feels they need to cover only the candidates they think are ahead of the rest. As an example, how many times have you heard George W. Bush's name announced on TV, the Internet, or in the local and national newspapers? How many times have you heard the same about Republican hopeful, Gary Bauer? This proves that the media is becoming more bias to the fact that the actual American voters know all the candidates. They don't! Most voters use the media to help them find the right candidate. How is this going to give them information of a better candidate, more suitable for them, if not being covered by the media? Remember this - publicity for a candidate is publicity. Whether it's positive or negative. If the media covers all necessary candidates, that will get the voters more educated and hopefully more enthused to vote or volunteer for a cause.
This country was built on a strong belief of character, and character can only come from the voters. Utilizing these reforms will increase the voting turnouts and increase voter awareness. It is the responsibility of an American citizen to vote.
Essay themes: Open access for third parties
We the teenagers of today's society have been brought up in a quick fix society. It seems that we have been raised to look for the immediate results and not worry about future repercussions. I bring this up because much of today's legislation in some way or other deals more with future than short-term goals. The politicians speak of plans and how they will help us over a span of ten to twenty years. We don't care what's gonna happen ten to twenty years from now, we'll care when we get there. I think that if more legislation was directed towards us and explained why we should be concerned, it could help get a bit more attention. I also think that we need to get more of the young people involved with politics. Let them get their feet wet with it. Most of us don't worry that much because we are under the assumption that someone else will take care of it. However, not to far down the road, if we keep the same idea, there will be anyone to take care of it. If people are allowed to get involved with things at younger ages then it could sway others to become interested. Another thing that we could change is to give the independent party more of a chance. People recognize that you need to be rich or well represented in order to win. Usually the independent is just someone to draw votes away from one side or the other. It's like this election. John McCain, in my opinion, has some good ideas, but has no chance at winning because he's like a side show someone to draw attention from the central happenings (George Bush's campaign). Nobody wants to get involved if they have no hope of winning. Lowering the voting age won't change much. If you can't get the young people interested the way it is, why would they become interested because they can vote. In fact, it would probably just hurt the percentages of registered voters who are actually voting. I do agree that debates between all candidates for office is a good idea. Then we could get an idea of each candidate's issues and where he stands on others. Although, some people are all talk. They tell the public what the want to hear and then do the complete opposite once in office. But essentially, as long as the majority of his concerns agree with ours, people will pry overlook the fact that we didn't get something our way. I previously talked about the legislation being a problem because it is written to take years to enact. I realize that Rome wasn't built in a day, and so one can't expect immediate results. However, if more short-term goal legislation was to be written over time, it would all add up the progress might be more noticeable. Then maybe we could focus on the longer-term goals. Internet voting could make a difference. Most people do have access to a computer, although not all have who can get to a computer can get on the Internet. If Internet voting does become a reality, then I would like to suggest that we do in fact lower the voting age. I know that contradicts what I wrote earlier, but here's why I feel this way. Nearly every school in America is hooked up to the Internet. If we can get the schools to make it a class requirement for a history or government class to vote, then it could greatly increase the number of young people voting. Granted, some would be doing it only because they are forced to, but it makes them pay attention to what's going on in politics. If they do pay attention, it could inspire a few to take an active role in becoming a politician. Not to sound cynical but I realize that even though there would still be numerous students who just mark boxes, how do we know that people today are voting honestly and not just marking boxes. There's no way to really know the answer to that. So to summarize my points, I think that more short-term legislation could be written and then focus on the long term once we see some results. Next, if Internet voting becomes a reality, we could lower the voting age and persuade schools into getting the kids to vote for part of a requirement to a class. Finally, the independents could have better success than what they currently do. Those are the things that I feel we, as a nation should change in order to get young people to partake in political participation.
Essay themes: Modernize polling, Internet voting
To answer this question, the voting process must be examined through the eyes of adolescence. When a teenage person thinks of a voting booth, he envisions a place where he goes to vote for someone he has had little contact with and who does not have much bearing on his life. He imagines long lines leading to the booths. Then, when inside, he can see the little piece of paper with a series of small dots, just like tests at school. In reality, this vision is quite accurate. Often times, people are forced to wait in line for a long period of time before they can vote on sheets that do not appear to be much more than a test. Older people are more inclined to take part in this process because they have voted in this manner their entire life. A beginning voter, on the other hand, has no experience with any voting procedure. So, when this voter is introduced to the voting protocol that has been employed for decades, he sees it as being archaic. This vision is imprinted in the young voter's mind because he is judging the system with values different from his parents. He appreciates efficiency and progress much more than his parents ever have or ever will. Along these lines, the formalized process used in voting does not make logical sense; it is neither efficient nor progressive. This picture does not entice him to take part in the voting process. With no offense intended for the current voting method, it is not interesting to America's youth. People may argue that this is voting, it is not a form of entertainment, it is a right; thus, it does not need to have any attributes that make it alluring to youth. This statement may be true, but as long as government decides that voting does not need to appeal to the values of youth, efficiency and progress, youth will not partake in the activity as much as society wants. In order for a person to do something, he must have at least an inkling of a desire to take part in the activity.
How can American youth be attracted to voting? This question will not be answered by leaving the voting system in its current state. Quite the contrary, it must be added to so it appeals to the younger generation. How does a teenager often spend his free time? Though he may be involved in many different daily activities, one of his most prevalent activities is logging onto the Internet and checking his email. In many cases, this is done at least once a day. Because of the abundant usage of this resource, it should be applied to the voting system. Young people are quite proficient with a computer and the Internet, so it only makes sense to play to their strength by allowing them to vote online. By using this solution, youth will be presented with an efficient, quick, and logical method to vote, dramatically raising youth interest and participation the political system. Right now, this may seem like a challenging renovation of the current system. But, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. If a man in 1990 was told that in ten years people would be able to send messages, get instant news, view movies, and speak to friends instantly across a network of computers throughout the world, that man would likely laugh at the other person for making such outlandish claims. But, now these feats are not impossible dreams but every day realities.
Who is to say what is possible in next ten years? Taking a moment to look deep into the future of America and the world, what will the world be like in 100 years? By this time, the ability of computers will be absolutely remarkable. Every part of life will be somehow linked to a computer that makes life more efficient and convenient. At that point, will paper even be necessary? Will it even be in the memory of the youngest generation? Though it seems hard to ponder now, why will the people of the future need paper when they can dictate to a wearable computer or write on the screen of any computer in the world because they are all networked together? At this time in the future, will people still use paper and voting booths to select our leaders? Most certainly not it is illogical. Sometime between now and then, the voting process will have to change because people will eventually cease to accept the past methods. Why not make the change now? It is better to be ahead of the time than caught off guard and forced to make a cursory change in the voting process that is not as effective as a timely move would have been.
My recommendation to the leaders of America is to take charge now and make an addition to the voting system, which would allow people to vote on the internet. The computer is already such an integral part of everyone's lives, why not allow people to vote using a machine they are familiar with and already use on a daily basis?