Persuasive Speech: Reasons to Vote

1098 words | 4 page(s)

According to a study conducted by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, approximately 57.5% of all American citizens actively partook in the 2012 President election. Furthermore, the same study concluded that voter turnout within the United States significantly trails many of the developed countries in the world. (Center for the Study of the American Electorate, 2016) The percentage of voter turnout has significantly decreased over recent years, remaining at approximately 52% voter participation since 1992. (Center for the Study of the American Electorate, 2016) According to the same study, among the most uninvolved groups is that of the current, “milennial” generation. Voter disenfranchisement and overall disinterest has been shown to occur at essentially every socioeconomic level and across all ethnic groups, genders and ages.

Yet, it is heavily prevalent in younger groups and among certain economic groups and ethnic groups. (Center for the Study of the American Electorate, 2016) As able-bodied, adult American citizens, we all have the capacity to contribute to the political process in the sense of the ability to vote. Many individuals have posed the question regarding the value of voting and as a result, the issue has taken precedence in conversations regarding modern American society. I have done extensive research on the subject of voter involvement and have found that there are many statistics which affirm the issue of lack of voter involvement and provided arguments for the participation of voters on every level of politics. The issue of voting is a present concern and represents a threat to the sanctity of the political system which relies upon the opinions and beliefs of the general public for the political process.

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The first attribute to consider is the contributing factors to why individuals are not presently involved in great numbers of voting on a national level. The national political landscape is an important attribute of the political process and voter participation is something which should be highly considered. According to a study from the Fair Election International titled “Election Readiness,” it is essential to understand what voting allows and the implications of placing a vote. (Fair Election International, 2004) Many might argue that the electoral college establishes the viewpoints of the American public and that the vote that they may otherwise have is already determined by the opinions of the electoral college and their representation. (Fair Election International, 2004) The value of voting as whole can thus be seen in terms of the aggregate and not necessarily upon the marginal benefit that it provides. While the electoral college holds a large stake in the presence of power for the election of the President, the real positions that hold value are those of the state and local positions. Take for instance, the issue of abortion in a state like Vermont. The state itself has historically largely been a Republican state, with agricultural tendencies and over a 95% white population. (Robert, 2011)

The general tendencies of this presidential election highlighted a markedly different take on the political landscape that stood in contrast to what was the commonly held belief of the state in terms of representation. This recent election, Senator Bernie Sanders was brought forth as a likely nominee for the Democratic Party for the candidacy of President. This was largely because the active voter participation of Vermont’s citizens on a smaller level to help elect officials to bring Sanders’ platforms to the greater audience. From there, the strength of voting represented itself to the degree that it helped to highlight the capacity of a dominating front catalyzed by active involvement.

Prior to the Sanders campaign catalyzing the issue and bringing large-scale voter turnouts, presidential candidates such as that of George W. Bush were able to show the instrumental facet that voting plays in determining the opinions of the public at large. For example, in the state of Florida in the 2000 election, Bush narrowly clinched the votes by 537 votes of of approximately 6 million which were cast across the state. (Poundstone, 2009) Similarly, his opponent Al Gore won by a slim margin of only 366 votes in the state of New Mexico, out of 500,000 votes. (Poundstone, 2009) The capacity for these states to actively engage in the process largely relies on the willingness of voters to engage in the democratic process.

According to Henry M. Robert’s “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised,” there is a principle distinction between the importance of voting for President and voting for a regional candidate such as a representative in Congress. (Robert, 2011) The value of placing these individuals in office is that there are often times in which the opinions of the politicians and figures around regions across the nation help to develop the beliefs that are hold by states and in turn, the nation, at a higher level. While it can be said that there are fewer individuals in localities, they tend to have a higher reference point for the level of preference homogeneity that is present across the state itself. (Robert, 2011) Thus, in order to actively affect the decisions on a national level, it is essential to have the involvement of voters on a state and municipal level to help build the platforms and ensure the votes are cast within the government structure for the candidates that voters wish to see in office. Thus, the solution that I propose is to lift particularly marginalizing voter restrictions and open the voting privileges to individuals with criminal records to help curb the effects of voter disinterest and catalyze growth in the involvement of Americans in the political process.

In conclusion, it is apparent that voter disinterest remains a problem within the United States and many of the citizens are aware of the implications and its signs. I ask that you consider supporting my proposed solution of encouraging voting for appealing certain statutes which limit voter rights and otherwise restrict the ability of individuals to partake in the political process, so as to instigate a significant change in the way that the issue is perceived. We must remember as stated by Henry M. Roberts, “When the few go unchallenged, we can’t expect them to think of the needs of the many. To educate and inspire change, it must be brought from within ourselves and spread like wildfire.” (Robert, 2011)

  • “Election Readiness: It Is Never Too Late for Transparency” Fair Election International (FEI), a project of Global Exchange. October, 2004.
  • Poundstone, William (2009). Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren’t Fair (and What We Can Do About It). New York: Macmillan. p. 352.
  • Robert, Henry M. (2011).Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11 ed.). Da Capo Press. p. 816.
  • “Voter Participation and Demographics” Center for the Study of the American Electorate. July 26, 2016.

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