Whatever the truth about Australia, what we can say for certain about America is that voting levels are at deplorable lows. Despite all sorts of “Get Out the Vote” campaigns from all sorts of people on both sides, less than sixty percent of registered voters, according to Wikipedia, voted in the last presidential election. And historically those are the years when voter turnout is highest.
In some countries they have an issue with too many votes being cast. Sometimes many more than are registered for a single area, such as in Afghanistan’s current disaster with voter fraud. But in America, the president even mentioned not long ago that, especially in off years, between elections for the White House, it is difficult to get people to vote.
Where I am currently, in Los Angeles, California, there certainly seems to be a difficulty in getting out the vote. It is so bad an idea is floating around, too much debate, about possibly rewarding each person who votes with an entry into a lottery of $ 100,000. Reading the Los Angeles Times yesterday, they had an opinion peace on it, calling it “the worst idea” in a long time.
Getting voters to turn out was certainly not a problem in historically, in places like Greece, where everyone who was anyone voted, as well as early America. Perhaps part of the reason is that people have forgotten the price others had to pay so they could vote. Others might be too busy. As for the idea that your vote doesn’t count, think about this. While in Indianapolis Indiana earlier this year, at the capitol building for an event, I met a man who lost an election by one vote. Another whose election was decided by seven votes. Your vote matters, and so does the other guy’s. If you don’t vote, your ideas won’t win, his will.
Andrew C. Abbott