U.S. Citizens Who Do Not Vote Should Be Fined

Mikey Domagala, Columnist

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Have you ever spoken to a relative or close friend about politics? Perhaps his or her opinion about voting for the leader of the free world went something like this: “eh, my vote doesn’t matter,” or “it depends if I have time.”

Those responses are unacceptable from any functioning US citizen. You’ve heard it before, but every vote really does count, people. According to USAtoday.com, this year, the nonpartisan coalition interested in voter engagement revealed that the United States had its lowest midterm-election voter turnout since the early 1940s. Just 37% of people in America took part in the midterm vote, a horrid percentage.

In 2008, Barack Obama stood on the verge of making history, becoming the nation’s first African-American president. That year’s voter turnout rose by five million and saw a significant increase in votes among young people, African-Americans, and Hispanics. The skyrocketing turnout was fueled by a black man attempting to run the strongest country in the world for the first time in history. But why–just eight years later–is voter turnout projected to be so low and disgraceful? Now that Americans made some history and put Barack Obama into office, it doesn’t mean people should stop caring…we still need to elect new leaders of our country every 4-8 years.

The fact that that two-thirds of the electorate did not vote in a recent midterm election is absurd. 66% of Americans trusted the remaining 33% of people (who voted) to make their decisions. How can America stop that? How can that number change so much, that a strong percentage of Americans could simply watch the news or CNN and head down to the polls?

The United States government needs to hold accountable those who do not take part in voting. Why not fine these people? Of course, the punishment will not be an insane figure, but just enough to encourage them to take part. $100 dollars per presidential election makes sensel. As time goes on and the money adds up, slackers will be forced to take part. Also, of course, people with mental and physical disabilities who cannot participate would not be fined.

What if voters have absolutely no idea about politics or are undecided? On every ballot, voters should be required to check an “undecided” box if they are too uninformed to choose. This show a bit of effort at least. Voting irresponsibly, just like not voting, is the act of an irresponsible citizen. According to scholaradvisor.com, it isn’t fair to underprivileged or oppressed people all over the world who would give anything for the right to vote but are denied the important opportunity.

The more people vote, the stronger our democracy; the more people vote, the more we become informed and involved. Therefore, fewer and fewer of us would complain about politics; if you don’t make your voice heard, you have absolutely no right to complain. Maybe as more take part, United States citizens will realize they really have a lot more power to change things in their homeland than they ever expected.

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