North Texas Daily

American democracy is in jeopardy because of its voting system

American democracy is in jeopardy because of its voting system

American democracy is in jeopardy because of its voting system
March 31
09:30 2020

The voting system in the United States is incredibly flawed. Though the country is a democracy, it lacks illustrating this.

The problem with voting in America has always been evident since the birth of this nation. I mean, there was a time where women and people of color were barred from performing this civil liberty. Today, voting rights in America have been extended to its citizens who are 18 years of age, however, the voting system is far from reaching equality.

Challenges within the U.S. voting system has led many Americans to turn away from the polls nationwide. Voter suppression continues to plague elections as voting becomes harder and harder. Since 2010, many states have implemented voting restrictions which include strict photo ID requirements, registration restrictions and early voting cutbacks according to the Brennen Center for Justice. The state of Texas passed a bill in 2016 that requires its citizens to provide a photo ID which decreased voter registration and in 2019, the state halted the use of early mobile early voting sites.

Passed in 2012 by a dominantly Republican legislation, the state of Georgia enforced a restriction which made it almost impossible for citizens with past criminal convictions to partake in voting. These very harsh restrictions have made it significantly difficult for Americans to show up to the polls and have been the reason why many choose not to be active in politics.

Additionally, many groups in American society are disenfranchised when it comes to elections. People of color and lower income people tend to not vote because of how difficult it is becoming to do so, while white and rich members of society turn out the most to vote. As a result of the unfair voting restrictions placed on its citizens, voter turnout is low in the United States in comparison to other democracies, ranking 26 out of 32 as conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The framers of the constitution established the Electoral College as a compromise between large and small states in the election of presidents and vice presidents. Each state has the same amount of electors as it does Representatives and Senators in Congress and the District of Columbia is allowed three electors. Though the college was put in place to aid presidential elections, it does far from that. A reason why so many Americans don’t vote is largely due to the Electoral College. They have this idea that their votes do not count because in the end, its a decision made by the Electoral College. There are over 500 million individuals in the United States, however only 538 get to decide who becomes the leader of the nation. Often times, the Electoral College fails to go through with the desires of the people. The Electoral College faces the issue of the “faithless elector” in which the electors representing a state cast their vote in opposition to its popular vote. Over America’s course of history, 157 electors have voted contrary to their state’s chosen winner according to the Smithsonian Magazine.

Additionally, the Electoral College allows swing states, which are influential during presidential elections, too much power. The Democratic and Republican parties tend to rely on swing states in order to win elections. Because of this, presidential candidates often focus on securing the votes of only those states which only undermines democracy furthermore. For example, during the 2016 presidential election, the top candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent a majority of their campaign in those states. The Electoral College has also been alleged to favor the Republican Party which fuels a false sense of democracy and discourages many from voting. A study by the University of Texas at Austin found that that the Electoral College’s winner-takes-all attitude highly benefits Republicans and has been the reason for the party’s presidential victories in 2000 and 2016. This is how a candidate can be elected president despite not having the popular vote.

This country’s leaders need to do a much better job in how it appoints its elected officials by removing the many obstacles it has placed in front of its voters. Additionally, the country should do away with the Electoral College because it is not an accurate representation of the public’s wants in presidential elections. Democracy in America will be reached when voting is not seen a privilege, but rather every citizen’s right.

Featured Illustration: Kylie Phillips

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Michelle Monari

Michelle Monari

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1 Comment

  1. JD
    JD April 03, 07:52

    Such a misinformed piece.

    Reply to this comment

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