With four presidential debates having taken place in recent months — three Republican and one Democratic — I wonder how many people will show up to voting booths on Tuesday ready to select our nation’s next president.
Of course, they’ll be disappointed to find out that it’s a midterm election and that they probably won’t even recognize the majority of names on their ballot.
Then they’ll turn around and go home without casting a vote.
They certainly won’t be alone.
For a country that considers itself the utmost advocate for spreading Democracy worldwide, we are actually really, really bad at encouraging our citizens to go to the polls.
Look no further than last year, when voter turnout was the lowest it had been in 72 years. Only 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population cast ballots. Not since World War II have less people headed to the booths. And at least they had a good excuse back then.
And it wasn’t an aberration. In presidential elections, voter turnout in the U.S. typically peaks around 60 percent. In off-year elections, it dips to 40 percent or lower.
Sorry, but that’s disgraceful. Our country was founded on the notion that we get to pick our leaders. And 240 years later, we thank our forefathers by not even taking advantage of that freedom that they fought for us to have.
Voting doesn’t mean you have to be informed. Just go over there and write something down. Hell, hand in a blank ballot. Just do your civic duty.
Let’s take a look at voter turnouts in recent elections in other countries. In the United Kingdom’s election in May, 66 percent voted — the highest rate in 18 years. In Canada’s election two weeks ago, more than 68 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot. In Turkey on Sunday, voter turnout exceeded 85 percent.
Ideas have been tossed around on how to increase voter turnout in America. One common sense change could be moving Election Day from Tuesday to Saturday. Or making voter registration automatic upon getting your driver’s license. Some have toyed with the idea of making voting mandatory.
It’s certainly also your right as an American to choose not to care about politics, or who represents you in government. But I think that if we have any pride in our country, and the freedoms we have and believe everybody else should have, then we’d set a positive example for the world and vote.
And remember, when in doubt, you could always write in Deez Nuts.