To ensure that the democracy upon which America is built functions properly, it is important that all Americans who are eligible to vote do so. With voter turnout being increasingly lower in recent elections, it is important that we figure out solutions to increase voter turnout. Low voter turnouts mean only a small portion of the population is being represented and contributing to the decision making of the government. In order to increase voter turnout, actions need to be taken on both the national and local level. These actions include making the voter registration process easier, making voting itself more convenient and accessible, and strengthening the education surrounding the importance of our civic duty to vote in schools.
Making the process of voter registration easier can be done in a variety of ways. One way is to educate the public on how to register to vote and where they can go to register. Making it even easier, states can use automatic voter registration which would allow for eligible citizens to automatically be registered to vote when they present information to the DMV for a license or permit. Same day voter registration is also another way that states could make the registration process simpler. According to the United States Election Project’s data, same day voter registration has been seen to increase voter participation by 12 percent for people ages 18 to 25, 7.5 percent for African Americans, and 11 percent for Latinos. These large percentage increases show how same day voter registration has already been affective in increasing voter turnout. Online voter registration is yet another way that states could make the process of voter registration easier. Instead of having to find time to wait in line at the DMV, eligible citizens would have the option to register to vote online. Online registration would be especially useful for younger voters who are more familiar and accustomed to online services.
Furthermore, state governments can make voting more convenient and accessible by ensuring that there are sufficient resources in place for early voting. Many Americans face time conflicts or family obligations on Election Day; however, given the option to vote on the weekend, more Americans would likely be able to vote. In order to ensure that early voting is successful, states need to have sufficient and conveniently located early voting locations as well as hours of operation that allow those whose workdays start early in the morning and end late at night to participate. The location and resources available should be equal across the state to ensure that every voter has an equal opportunity to vote.
Moreover, it is important to educate young people about the government during their impressionable years. Many people don’t participate in governmental elections out of mistrust for the government. This can be changed if young people are taught in school how to effectively participate in governmental elections and understand the importance of their responsibility to vote. It is important to get the younger generation actively engaged in political discussion and aware of current events while their young to encourage and create a habit of voter participation.
There are many changes to the election process that can be made to increase voter participation. Some of these changes include making the registration process easier and more accessible as well as making the voting process more convenient. Other changes come from encouraging political awareness and activity in young people. These changes come at both the national and state level. Combined together, these changes can help lead to a higher voter turnout.
“Voter Turnout Data.” United States Elections Project, www.electproject.org/home/voter-turnout/voter-turnout-data.