All voices must be heard
for government to succeed
This November’s election might be the most consequential one of our lifetime. For a democratic form of government to function as it is designed to do, it requires citizens to fulfill their responsibility to vote. Low voter turnout has been the nemesis of voting in too many elections.
Voting is the most democratic of all democratic activities. Without voting, there is no democracy; there is no participatory governance. Those who are eligible to vote and choose not to do so cede their power to participate in selecting representatives who will make decisions for all of us. Election results represent only those who vote. Those of us who consistently vote, who consider voting a constitutional right that comes with a responsibility to exercise that right, do not always understand the rationale of the nonvoter. Voter turnout for the 2018 election was considered high, with 53% of eligible voters casting ballots.
Among the reasons given for not voting is a belief that neither candidates nor issues are relevant to the person who chooses not to vote, or that one vote is not going to make a difference in the outcome of the election. Others are disillusioned about everything political. For those who fail to register to vote, voting is precluded. Registration takes time and effort, and the individual might be unfamiliar with the process.
The percentage of eligible voters who do not vote is too large. The voices of nonvoters effectively are muted. Almost half of us are not represented in the decisions made in the most recent presidential election. We can do better that this. If we are to have a functioning democracy, we must devote the time and resources needed to educate people about the patriotism of voting and we must make the opportunity for voting more accessible.