Each eligible citizen's right to vote is provided for in the constitution. This was however not the case some decades back as only a minority few had the right to vote while some groups were locked out from exercising their voting rights. Yet despite progress made to safeguard the voting rights of all eligible citizens, the majority of them still do not vote. This paper explores the reasons as to why eligible citizens do not exercise their voting rights.
Most citizens do not vote because they do not have the interest to vote. Based on the findings of the 2008 Census Bureau survey, 13 percent of eligible American citizens did not have an interest in voting. They were totally indifferent of the candidates who were to be elected into power. An equal percentage of the polled citizens did not like their candidate, or the issues addressed. These voters had a natural dislike for their candidate or the issues and policies that these candidates stood for. Approximately a quarter of the voters registered in 2008 did not vote due to lack of interest in the polling process and a dislike for their choice candidates and the policies these candidates stood for (Lopez and Taylor).
Approximately a third of the registered voters did not vote because of illness, or they were held up or their schedules conflicted with the voting dates. 15 percent of the voters reported that they could not vote because they were either sick or had a disability, majority of who were the elderly. 17 percent of these registered citizens claimed that they were either too busy doing some other activities or that their schedules could not allow them to vote. Their activities and schedules were deemed of more priority to the exercising of their democratic right to elect the people who would lead them.
The remainder of the polled citizens did not vote because of logistical problems encountered during the voting process. The majority of these were not well acquainted with the voting process as they found it complicated and entailed too many processes and a lot of reading. Of these, 6 percent had problems with their voter registration, 3 percent claimed that their polling stations were an inconvenience to them, another 3 percent claimed not to have voted owing to transportation problems, and a marginal 0.2 percent reported that they could not vote due to unfavorable weather conditions (Lopez and Taylor).
The majority of American citizens who are eligible to vote do not exercise their rights either due to a dislike of their choice candidate or lack of interest in politics, illnesses, disabilities, busy or conflicting schedules, or logistical issues involved in the voting process. Can anything be done to reverse this current state of affairs? Some of the issues that prevent citizens from exercising their voting rights can indeed be rectified. Many states are in the process of making voter registration and voting easy, friendly and convenient to the voters. Also, voter sensitization programs should be undertaken so that the voters are well versed with the polling process. Citizens also have a responsibility of ensuring that they know their choice candidates as well as the policies that they stand for. Voting is the only way of removing bad governance and reinstating a desirable regime.
Lopez, Mark, and Paul Taylor. "Dissecting The 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse In U.S. History". Pew Research Center's Hispanic Trends Project. N.p., 2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.
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