Mandatory Voting Sparks Cultural Disagreement
The pewresearch.org article, “U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries,” highlights the consistently low voter turnout in the United States, with 53.6 percent of eligible voters voting in the 2012 presidential election.
Many Americans say the low voter turnout creates a disconnect between the people and their government.
Elizabeth Parker, an Australian native who currently lives in the United States, finds that living in a country with the compulsory system gives her an appreciation for a relationship between citizens and the government.
“I think that it stops the apathy. You get in and you have to make a decision, you have to decide who you want to go with, even if you don’t like either party…you take a little bit of responsibility for what happens and there’s not that disconnect there,” Parker said.
Similarly, Argentinian Juani Valero considers a compulsory system more representative of the people.
“[Compulsory voting] is not such a difficult system to apply, and it would increase the population’s participation greatly and coincide with the true will of the people,” Valero said.
Despite the aforementioned benefits of a compulsory system, many developed nations, including the United States, avoid its implementation.
“I would say there is little political let along voter participation in the general population of China. The local and national legislative bodies are basically rubber stamps for the [Chinese Communist Party],” Steve Xu, a College of Wooster student who has lived in China, said.
In any case, instituting this system in the United States would affect eligible citizens who have withheld their right to vote in previous elections.