Is Voting A Right Or A Duty? Essay

Is Voting A Right Or A Duty? Essay

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Only around fifty to sixty percent of registered voters actually go to the polls. This is a problem that the United States has been facing. Because of these low turnouts, some people say that voting should be made compulsory. Compulsory, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is, “required by a law or rule”. Voting should not be made compulsory because voting is a right, not a duty; there are alternatives that tackle the real causes of voter disengagement; and persuasion is more effective than coercion.
When looking at this debate it is good to first look at this question: is voting a right or a duty? A right is, “that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.” (dictionary.com) and a duty is, “something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation” (dictionary.com). Voting is, indeed, a right. The constitution does not say that the duty of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged; it says: “the right to vote”. By the aforementioned definition of right and going by the Constitution, voting is not an obligation- it is due to the people, but is not a duty, and should not be forced upon the public.
You have the right to vote, not a duty to do so. In much the same way, you have the right to worship freely, the right to express your views, the right to run for public office- but no obligation to do any of them. Just as freedom of religion encompasses the freedom to practice no religion, your freedom to vote for the candidate of your choice includes the freedom to vote for no candidate at all. (Jeff Jacoby, townhall.com)
This article shows the way of thinking from some of those who choose not to vote. Because voti...


... middle of paper ...


...rrier to the full and equal participation of each citizen in the electoral press. (William A. Galston, E.J. Dionne, Jr., newsweek.com)
Mandatory voting, also, would not have that effect. “Political parties do try and capture the ‘disadvantaged groups’ vote, specifically in order to convince them that voting is in their best interest” (idebate.org). If we are well informed, this problem will not exist. Knowledge on these issues would lead to people making an educated vote on issues and they would voluntarily go to the booths to better their lives.
In conclusion, voting should not be made compulsory. If voting is made easier, awareness is increased, and understanding is reached; there will be no reason for a mandatory vote. Turnouts will automatically increase. People will go to the polls because they will feel educated, able, and responsible to vote.

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