To be an American means that certain rights are guaranteed by the government, but these rights comes with certain duties. The first duty as an American citizen is not to serve in the armed forces; it is not to pay taxes. The first duty as an American is to get out there and rock the vote. Although the ability to vote is what separates America from other countries, many people choose not to fulfill their duties and give up their right to vote. Even though voting is a great right and should never be forsaken, in today’s world it may not be necessary or beneficial to vote.
People choose not to vote because of apathy, the political system, and the pure statistics of voting. Voting in America today is just not important. In America today many citizens feel that they cannot make a difference in our political system. Especially in larger elections where prominent officials are elected, individual citizens think that their one vote cannot change anything. Chances are better that one individual vote will have a greater affect on smaller elections rather than larger ones. However, people are more likely uninformed about local issue.
Smaller elections do not receive the level of media that other larger elections get. It is ironic that people choose not to vote in elections that they have the most influence in. As time goes on more and more people become impassive towards voting and decide not to vote. America’s perception that their vote does not matter may be an accurate one. The way that the American political system is designed, the winning side will take the office and the losing side is out of luck. In America we practice a political system called a single member district.
Unlike other countries, our nation is divided up into districts where the winner takes all, and the losing side ends up with nothing. For Americans this concept all boils down to the fact that if a voter is on a losing side, it would be pointless to get out there and rock the vote. When their side loses, votes from anybody that choose that side are wasted. Another fault of the American political system is the scheduling of elections. As it turns out, Election Day always falls on a Tuesday. Tuesday for most Americans, is a working day.
It is not convenient for people to take time out of their busy days to go vote. In other European countries, election days usually fall on the weekends or they hold special election holidays. If this were the case in American, there would be a great increase in voter turnout. To drive to the polls and spend an hour at the booths has a great opportunity cost. During that time, people could be making money, spending time with a friend or family, or catching up on some much-needed sleep. Voting is not directly compensated, and may hold no value to ordinary citizens.
Since there is no reimbursement for the time and effort spent voting, it is not worth it to vote. Statistics show that the chances of an individual vote affecting a presidential election is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000. In other words one individual vote does not make a difference. There is a greater chance of getting in a fatal car crash on the way to the polls, than making a difference in a presidential election. Why take such a great risk for something so trivial? In people’s minds, before they go out to vote, there are costs and benefits that they have to weigh out.
The numbers are there to prove that voting doesn’t make sense. The rest of the nation is not concerned if one-person votes or not. Voting today is not the same as it was in colonial times. In today’s world an individual vote is meaningless. Once all the profits are weighed against the costs, it makes more sense for an American citizen to give up their right to vote. So why do Americans still go out there and rock the vote? It is something about being American, or is it an old custom that just hasn’t gone away yet? The answer to this question may give us an insight onto the true meaning of democracy.