Is Voter Turnout Not A Single Citizen?

3733 Words Dec 2nd, 2014 15 Pages
If not a single citizen were to participate in a democracy, that democracy would cease to exist. The very idea of a democracy is the notion that the people are in power and, therefore, will participate. Nevertheless, the trends of American voters in recent years have revealed that turnout is at a low point. According to Thomas Cavanagh, since the peek of electoral participation in post war 1960, voter-turnout has continually been on the decline (53). In other words, people just aren’t participating in the voting process as they used to. Moreover, this trend of low turnout doesn’t seem to occur only in less exposed congressional elections. Today, even in the highly publicized, closely contested, and salient presidential elections, only about 60% of the eligible voters participate—which is relatively low compared to the functioning democracies of Europe, where turnout consistently averages around 80% (The Case 591). The question for political scientists then becomes whether or not this trend of low voter turnout in American elections affects the government’s representation of its constituents (Teixeira 152). Put differently, do the results of a low turnout election actually represent the will of the people? Some political scientists assert that it does not, and believe that compulsory voting would be the quickest and most effective way to end this hindrance on representative democracy. Others, however, see it differently, and believe there is a set of traits that…

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