Recognizing the Power of “The Melting Pot”
Less than half of the nation turns out to vote on Election Day. The idea behind low voter turnout is typically explained by a low sense of civic duty and the problem of the collective vote. People are discouraged from engaging in political activity because of the belief that their vote will not affect the outcome, that the system is corrupt, that they do not have enough information, or that they simply do not care because the policies are irrelevant to their lives. The purpose of democracy is its chief role as a vehicle for improvement of the lives of citizens by elected representatives. To work efficiently, a democratic government has to be fair and benefit the common good, not just the elite political figures. Is it fair to say that the U.S. electoral system is democratic when less than half of the nation is voting for the president? Without a plurality, is that elected official still representative of the desires of the citizenry as a whole? Enabling a proportional system of voting allows for multimember districts, greater third party influence, and most importantly, can be an effective means to increase voting and political participation overall.
Voter turnout is a chief quality in fair elections and good voter turnout legitimizes a true democratic system of government: “Low turnout rate is usually attribute to disengagement with the system because of perceived effectiveness of voting in changing policy decisions (FairVote.org). The democratic nature of the U.S. electoral system can be ensured by implementing Proportional Representation instead of the “first past the post” system that encourages the formation of a two-party system. “Proportional Representation is an electoral system in which seats in a legislature are apportioned on a purely proportional basis, giving each party the share of seats that matches its share of the total vote” (Drogus and Orgus, 314). For example, a party that gains twenty-five...
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