An American Privilege: Voting

The US nation was formed under a set of standards such as unity, diversity, individualism, self-government, equality, and liberty. These ideals have largely shaped the political culture of the Americans and impacted on what many Americans have tried to attain politically, either for others or themselves. The rules of the political game in the United States include capitalism, democracy, and constitutionalism. Voting is a very important activity and the right of the citizens of any nation (Patterson, 12). This activity should, therefore, be exercised well by the nationals, though at times they fail to do so. This paper aims at discussing the reasons for reducing the number of voters and how this issue can be resolved.

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Reasons for the Lower Number of Americans Voters

According to Patterson, the major reason for the lower voter turnout by Americans than Western Europeans is that the US laws governing the registration put a large burden on the Americans. Laws concerning the scheduling of elections and the requirements for registration, in particular, are the main causes for the low attendance among the Americans. The requirement is that it is an obligation for one to personally register so as to be eligible as a voter. This law is unfair for the Americans compared to the Western Europeans where the burden of registration is placed on the government officials instead of individual citizens. Because of this, many Americans fail to register, and this eventually reduces the number of individuals who vote.

Another reason for the lower voter turnout by Americans is the fact that elections are held more frequently unlike in other nations. This fact discourages the people from voting regularly since most of them might be committed in their activities elsewhere and will not have a good motivation to leave the occupation. The other nations such as of Western Europe have more years between elections. Thus, the citizens of these states will not see it as a waste of time to leave their work and go to vote. It can also be noted that the political parties in America, compared to those in Europe, do not represent fully the interests of the contrasting economic classes. This reason leads to reduced policy stakes in the elections held in America, unlike in the elections in Europe (Patterson, 512).

Finally, most Americans do not vote since they do not believe that policy will change regardless the party that gains power. This fact results into the number of citizens who participate in the political activities like working for a candidate during a campaign being lower than in Europe. Only about 25 percent of the Americans are active in politics at some point in their lives, and sometimes the number is as minimal as 5 percent. It is also evident that those who participate in politics are those who are educated and have high income only. The political involvement is directly related to the socioeconomic status of the individual. Considering all these factors, the number of Americans who will appear to vote is lower compared to in Western Europe.

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Reasons why some Americans Regularly Vote while Others do not

Americans take part in politics only moderately. The cause for this is that most of the Americans are committed to their private activities more than to the political affairs. Even though they are concerned with national trends in politics, the present culture reflects on individual life. For this reason, people will prefer working to achieve the best in their matters rather than ensuring that political condition of the state is improved. The only remaining few who are the political activists and value politics more than their personal activities will regularly vote, whereas the large numbers will vote only when they feel they are not wasting their time.

Secondly, irregular voting among the Americans arises because some citizens think that the government does not respond to their needs and interests (Patterson, 535). Accordingly, they will not vote regularly but only when they feel like doing so. They even go ahead to protest against the government and engage in activities that do not support the political affairs. Given the fact that political participation is directly related to socioeconomic status, the people who will vote regularly are those earning high incomes. The majority, whose economic status is low, will not vote comparatively on the regular basis. This evidence explains well the reason why some Americans systematically vote while others do not.

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How to Improve Voter Turnout in the United States

Referring to the above-mentioned reasons, Patterson developed various ways of improvement of  political participation in the United States. One of them is that the voting laws of the United States should be changed. This reform can be done by extending the voting hours so that the citizens will not be excluded (Patterson, 538). Moreover, the Election Day should be a holiday since many citizens are not able to vote due to work commitments (Patterson, 539). This step will increase the chances of voting greatly. The other way is to change the procedure of voter registration (Patterson, 539). This will encourage more citizens to register thus improving voter turnout.

Another thing is the electoral reform that should be aimed at halting the trend of diminishing interest in political affairs. The reform can be done if the broadcast networks restored most of their election coverage. The same will enable many people to view the various debate performed by the aspiring leaders. If the citizens get to watch the debates, they will join to the campaigns as well as get access to sufficient information about the candidate to vote in. If these changes are implemented, the citizens will be eager for the voting day to go and vote for the leaders of their choice (Patterson, 550).

Third, the length of campaigns should also be revised. According to Patterson, lengthy campaigns tax the attention of the voters. Most people are not willing to be attentive in a campaign when the day of the election is still several months away. The monotony of campaigns will also make them inattentive even if the voting is just in a few days. By the time the campaigns end, they will have forgotten what they learned earlier. That is the reason why people will not be prepared to vote when the day finally arrives (Patterson, 551).

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In conclusion, the low voter turnout in the US arises from various factors that include socioeconomic status, the level of education achieved, age, and the laws governing elections among others. The attendance is lower compared to other nations such as of the Western Europe, where many voters appear to elect their presidents and other officials. In America, a considerable number of the electorate show their interest only during the presidential elections, but the amount reduces during the elections of other officials. This problem can be tackled by making some reforms to the election plans and laws so as to make them favorable to the citizens. The changes that will help include extending the registration and changing voting day laws among others.

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