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Why Everyone Should Have to Vote

Mathew Biadun | Staff Writer

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Elections are the primary core of any democratic state. The fundamental basis of representative democracy cannot exist without elections. A ballot box is something that most Americans have, for many decades now, taken for granted. So much so, that most Americans find participating in the Democratic process unnecessary. Only two-thirds of possible voters registered in the last Presidential Election. In the 2018 midterm elections, 49% voted; less than half of all who could. Yet this was the highest midterm turnout since 1914. A study by States United Action found that, on average, just 27% of voters vote in Primary elections.

This is a fundamental betrayal of democratic values and a betrayal of beliefs Americans hold. Americans have historically been very nationalistic and proud of their country, which has been a pioneer of democracy, and one of the oldest Republics in the world. Americans are still supportive of democracy. Three-quarters of Americans polled believe that democracy is the best system of government, according to a survey run by the McCourtney Institute. The support for democracy lowered with each generation; just 37% of Millenials and 27% of Gen-Z were supportive of democracy.

Young people in America today tend to be shockingly cynical of the American government and, now, seem to be equally cynical even towards the fundamentals of Democracy in general. Younger people today often deride the government for being corrupt, unresponsive, and getting nothing done. Yet, in all honesty, part of the blame for this lies on the younger generations. They do not vote, their greatest tool for inducing change, and then complain when change does not occur.

Voting does work. Just 39% of young people voted in 2016, an election which many lauded as corrupt and unfair, as the popular favorite Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College. Most young people despised the victor, Donald Trump; part of the reason so many turned out in the 2020 election. Here, 50% of people younger than thirty voted, a critical increase that helped defeat President Trump. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, another left-wing darling of many young voters, was only elected because voters turned out to support her in a local Primary election. Because people voted, she was able to defeat a ten-term incumbent unchallenged in a primary for fourteen years.

Political participation induces change. The rights of racial minorities, sexual minorities, and women were all brought into being because people fought for them. If there had been no Civil Rights marches in Birmingham, Jim Crow would not have ended. If young queer people never fought at Stonewall, gay marriage wouldn't exist. If women had not marched through Washington D.C., there would be no suffrage. All the gains of rights, respect, reform, and equality in this country have been due to people getting involved.

There are some places in this country where voter intimidation and a lack of access are serious issues. But in the vast majority of America, it is easier than ever to vote. Today people have mail-in ballots, same-day registration, and a free virtual infinity to help them remain politically aware. There is no excuse not to vote; not to take the time out of one day to fill out a ballot. By not voting, people are betraying the fundamental ideas of the nation that most agree with.

It is a civic responsibility to ensure our democracy, built on the will of the people, which remains representative of that will; something that will never happen if people continue to refuse to vote and to be politically active. That is why voting should be mandatory. That is the only way to ensure that our representative government is truly representative; by making it so that all capable Americans have to fill out a ballot and vote.


Arizona Clean Elections Commission - “2020 Primary Election - Pinal County.” Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.

“Half of Youth Voted in 2020, an 11-Point Increase from 2016.” Circle at Tufts, 29 Apr. 2021,

Helmstetter, Craig, and Terrence Fraser. “Poll: A Strong Majority of Americans Endorse Democracy.” MPR News, MPR News, 19 Jan. 2023, ger-generations-skeptical.

Turnout in Primary vs General Elections since 2000, 28 July 2022,


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