Everyone should vote. It’s the principle upon which democracy is based. Yet, according to the Bipartisan Research Center, 57.5% of the eligible voters voted in the presidential election of 2012, which they claim was a decline from 2008 of 62.3% in 2008. Why don’t more people vote? To put it simply, either they don’t care or they feel they don’t know enough about the presidential candidates to make an informed decision.
With the primaries coming to a close in a few months, tensions are high and everybody is talking about who will win their party’s nomination. Consistent voters are often quick to crucify those who don’t vote, calling them ignorant or irresponsible of contributing to the pillars upon which democracy stand. Out of all the eligible voters, many do not have the time to politically analyze which candidates best represent their interests. They’re more concerned about putting food on the table and keeping the family together. Others have jaded views of the politics of Washington. “Will voting even benefit me personally?” some may ask. This conflict is particularly difficult for many first time voters who haven’t spent the time to develop their own position on different issues.
Before we rush to judge those who do not vote, perhaps we should consider how many Americans aren’t voting for the right reasons. Many vote for their party’s candidates without taking the time to get to know the politicians and their stances on key issues. According to Millie Klamen ‘16 said, “Now that I am able to vote I have payed a lot more attention to the media coverage of presidential election, however, many of my friends simply don’t care enough to watch debates or learn about the candidates.” Other voters simply regurgitate what they hear “political experts” say on biased radio and television shows. A large majority of voters vote because their parents did and supported a political party all their lives. Many people probably feel inclined to vote because of the social pressures to do so, but maybe it would be best if they abstained from voting until they form their own opinions about the world around them.
Still, some WY seniors aren’t convinced that there is a justification for not voting. Charles Kotrba ‘16 said, “In this day and age, information is so easily accessible through the internet and the media that there is no reason not to spend fifteen minutes visiting a presidential candidate’s website or even an hour to watch candidates debate on the things that will affect your life. It’s important that you have a say in the policy created by your government and the only way to directly impact that policy is by voting for the candidate that shares your opinions and values.”
People need to form their own reasons on why they want to vote for someone. Ideally, everyone would vote because they want to and are well educated on the candidates in elections across the country, but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. Stop criticizing those who don’t vote.