One major question that is on my mind and easily on the mind of many other people in office and involved with politics is why North American voters find it so difficult to vote?
There is usually a lot of notice way before the election actually happens and voting stations are set up in multiple areas located in populated sections of cities, yet voting numbers continue to decrease year after year.
Could it be that our society truly is not educated enough to understand the importance of voting? Maybe they are to educated and feel voting is futile?
Could there be economic factors that alter why a person decides to vote? To busy working to make the time? To tired from work to go out? Feel like the vote will not affect your work so why bother?
Why, when there are people who are dieing just so their people can get the freedom to vote, do we continue to ignore it? Do we need our immediate family members to be beaten and oppressed and or killed by death squads, to muster up the motivation to vote and partake in our political system? Are things really that good amid all of the trouble our way of life is having, for us not to need to vote in change?
There is no single answer that truly can pinpoint why voting decreases, but when one takes a combination of different factors into play, a small picture seems to come through.
For example: Obama's election campaign helped bring out a large number of voters to the polls in the United States that would otherwise not participate.
Why is this? Some analysts may term this as a political anomaly that occurs once in a blue moon.
One explanation I have however, is that when time's become very hard for certain groups, people will look for a leader that they can relate to. Someone who not only inspires them to have hope or do better, but also shares traits that their specific group encompasses. I believe this example is not an anomaly at all, but rather the fact that voting is on a decrease is more suitable for the title of anomaly.
Another suggestion I have heard is that voting become more "cool" or mainstream with the target audience that is currently not participating. This makes me feel a little odd, because I often think of "cool" as something associated with pop-culture or trends. Mind you, trends do take up an important part in the statistical world of voting, since different times bring out different trends. However, the trends I feel might be utilized for this would be those commonly used in advertising, especially advertising targeted at younger people.
How would it make you feel if voting became glamorized by fashion titles or brand names? Imagine how popular it would be to vote if Coke sponsored voting stations or Armani created fashion lines targeted at elections!? Or imagine how scary it would be...What do you think?
I will leave this discussion with the statement that although we Canadians and Americans live in our respective countries and enjoy their freedoms, we share the responsibility and burden of maintaining our great country as we share the freedoms that come with it. Voting is the smallest form of burden we as citizens have to ensure that our democracy continues on and that elected officials are kept in check by the people, the way it is supposed to be. One sad outcome from the lack of voters coming out is the influence that large corporations and wealthy individuals have had on our political system. We may not see it directly in the public eye, but our elected officials rely on campaign funding to continue on and this funding has now often come from the private hand. AS a result, the people who helped get a politician elected will often be the same person who will get help from such politician and this is where the problem lies in our system.
It may seem futile to cast that vote, but with the right mentality one person's vote can cause a wave of change in our system!