“In recent years, …Americans have become more skeptical about their actual “say” in government, and many do not bother to vote” (Lowi, Ginsperg, Shepsle, & Ansolabehere 10). This stems not from a desire not to be involved in politics, but from the belief that the votes themselves do not matter. This is of particular concern in large elections, like the presidential election, wherein the Electoral College rules regarding votes make it difficult at times to see the point. There are many ways, however, that citizens can participate in politics, with some of those behaviors easier than others. Political participation can include registering to vote, voting, putting up signs and assisting with campaigns, making donations to favored candidates, and can be as difficult as putting together a campaign platform and running for office oneself.

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The simplest of these is simply having individuals utilize their right to vote. In order to get this to occur, for even one vote can make a difference in a local election, there are a variety of tactics that can be employed. One of the methods of increasing voter turnout that has been mentioned the most frequently in recent weeks is the proposal to change Election Day to a national holiday to provide opportunity to vote. While there is early voting and while employers are not allowed to penalize or discriminate against those who go to vote and miss work to do so, such actions do still occur. This would be quite difficult to accomplish, however, as it would require the passing of a bill, lobbying, and could languish for years if riders attached to the bill are debated and argued. A simpler method of getting people to vote and increasing voter turnout would be to simply mail voter registration cards to each person every year, have them fill out the information and have the cards postage paid, so there is no effort required. Many people do not vote not because they are not registered, but because they are not registered at their current address or in their current county. Ensuring that records are up to date without having to disrupt their days would increase the likelihood of voter turnout.

Work Cited

  • Lowi, T., Ginsberg, B., Shepsle, K, & Ansolabehere, S. American Government – Power and Purpose. 13th ed. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.