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Sample Essay ‘The Non-Voters: The Reasons, Impacts and Solutions’

July 24th, 2017

The decision not to vote has as much of an impact as the choice to vote for a particular candidate. The research shows that low-income citizens and those aged 18-24 are the least likely to vote, meaning that significant segments of our population do not cast their voices for any candidates.  Some do not vote because they are too busy. Many choose not to vote because they don’t like the candidates or they feel their vote won’t make any difference. While an easier voting process might help marginally with voter turnout, the real solution seems to lie at the heart of our political system and its lack of representation of many of our citizens.

Why do so many citizens voluntarily surrender their constitutional right to vote? According to research in the last few years, the majority of non-voters are “pessimists.” They express the view that their vote won’t make any difference.  Many others say they are too busy, citing work, traveling and illnesses as major factors keeping them away from the polls. A common theme expressed among non-voters is the absence of good candidates. They just feel that there is no one worth taking the time to vote for.

We used to believe that the choice not to vote had little to no impact on elections. But now we know this is not true.  According to the analysis of the 2016 election results, only eight states and Washington DC that had actual political candidates earn more votes than the number of people who did not vote in that state. In other words, if “I Didn’t Vote” were a candidate, he or she would have won by a landslide. Statistically, non-voters are those under 30, low-income or non-white.  It has been found that low-income citizens often express the view that their vote won’t make a difference, while more affluent citizens feel more empowered and have more belief in the system. These gaps have tremendous implications for government policy concerning major issues like economic inequality, government services, and employment.

So how can we solve this problem and get more of our citizens out to vote? This is a complicated question and there appears to be no easy answer. The real solution will be complex and multifaceted.  Marginal improvement can be made by simplifying the voting process so that disenfranchised voters will not be able to find as many excuses to stay away. Even more important, the political system needs to generate candidates that are more representative of potential voters, especially of those in disenfranchised groups like low-income and youth. The best way to accomplish this is by more education on the policy positions of various candidates.

The American businessman William E. Simon once said, “”Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.”  For that reason, we must get to the heart of the deep sense of disenfranchisement affecting our non-voters and turn it around by building a political system that everyone can believe in.

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