Failing Grade for American Voters

My son’s first quarter report card arrived in the mail this week. It’s his first report card from public school since first grade (when we started homeschooling).

He’s a high school sophomore this year and he has straight A’s. Yes, I’m proud.

All the way through our homeschooling years, I’ve required an 80 percent or better on schoolwork. Why so harsh? Think about it, 80 percent is about as low as you can go and still function reasonably well. If my car is only operating on 75 percent of its cylinders, I’m not going to be able to demand the kind of performance from it I expect. If the doctor tells me I’ve only got 80 percent heart or lung function, I’m going to be concerned!

No matter how lenient the teacher or subject, a 50 or 60 percent is a big, fat, failing grade. America’s eligible voters got an “F” yesterday in the mid-term elections. In fact, America gets a failing grade for voter turnout for the last 50 years, and maybe more, and that’s for our presidential elections. In mid-term elections, voter participation drops as low as 30-40 percent.

 

What does this say about us? It says we are content with things the way they are. It says we don’t mind giving our “say” to a handful of people who are willing to go to the polls. We could also surmise that it means we don’t care, that we don’t believe our vote counts, that we’re simply too busy, that voting is too complicated, that we don’t really understand the issues.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 2: A resident votes in the midterm election at James Madison Middle School November 2, 2010 in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Former eBay CEO and Republican candidate Meg Whitman is running against California Attorney General and Democratic candidate Jerry Brown for the Governor's seat while U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is in a tight race against Republican senatorial candidate and former head of Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images) Since the government seems to enjoy making things “mandatory,” perhaps it’s time to make voting mandatory. Compulsory voting (as found in Australia and other nations) raises voter participation as high as 95 percent. Even if it means voters have to fill in a dot that says “I relinquish my right to vote in this election.” Maybe it’s time to move away from the paper and pencil method and bring voting into the 21st century with voting via texting, or on the Internet. It would be interesting to know how many people are casting votes on Dancing With the Stars every week, wouldn’t it?

What do you think? Should we make voting compulsory?

One thought on “Failing Grade for American Voters

  1. Heather says:

    That is just the thing about freedom. We are free to do what is right, but that does not mean people always will.
    Isn't not showing up to vote the same as entering a compulsary vote of "I relinquish my right". That is, after all, what they are doing by staying home. Seems a little uptight to make such a vote mandatory. Plus a waste of taxpayer money to provide a ballot to somone who doesn't care and then spend time sorting them out.
    I'm just sayin.

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