Citizens of the United States do not always find it necessary to vote in elections. The voter turnout has once went as low as 51.7% for the presidential election. In my opinion it is a citizens duty to go to elections. It should give people a since of pride that they have the right and freedom to elect the leader of this country. If you do not your party or candidate could have a higher chance of losing. It would make me feel better knowing I did my part to possibly vote in the next president. If you do not, your candidate also has a bigger chance of losing and then you would be disappointed that you did not go vote for this reason.
An article titled Is it Rational to Vote reviews five problems as to why people do not vote and gives some equations as examples. They explain that people usually vote to express their preferred candidate, increase their chances of winning or because they feel like they should. It is said that most people will only vote if their rewards are greater than their cots. In my opinion there are not any huge costs to voting so I think the reward is much higher and that would be possibly having a hand in electing the next president or other offices.
When coming up with theories as to why it is rational to vote some reasons they used are that people do not always explain why they are at the polls but will tell you what they do when they arrive, the voting cost is so small that no one factors it in, while other theories and equations explain why people should go to the polls and that it is definitely worth everyones time. The C-Term Solution explains that even though most voters do not mind the cost, when the cost goes up the voters are less likely to participate statistically.
Once most people are presented with the probability of their vote being a decision maker, which is very low, they are less likely to vote. They think that their vote is not the most important and realize that they are less likely to change outcomes of the election (Brunk). Number wise one out of millions does seem very small, however it can always make some sort of an impact. There is also a paradox of voting that comes into play when economic rationality is applied to politics (1999). They presented the theory of the paradox of voting to three different experimental groups who’s turnout rate was 70% (Barry). The control group’s was 67% combined, so this presentation helped persuade people to participate in voting (Barry).
There was another study on why people decide to or not to vote. Pressure and cynism were the smallest factors when making this decision. Most of the people in this survey think that citizens should go vote and exercise their right (Pammett). However, this study was done in Canada but they definitely feel like they should be taking their part as well. Once again, some of them did agree that the costs negatively affected them in this situation. It all came down to if the people felt they were obligated to vote and most did fell this way.
In conclusion, I think that these studies over rational voting were very interesting and helpful. Most people did feel that voting is a duty or an obligation and I completely agree. Not every country has a tight in selecting their leader. I would also want a hand in helping vote for our future president as well as picking the best possible candidate that will benefit us for the future for my family and I. So, we should vote. We should take advantage of this freedom and privilege. Elections happen all the time whether it be for the United States or happening in your high school as you elect the new student body president. It is important to do your part and vote for who you think would do the best job. I know it would make me feel that much better knowing I participated and helped with what I can do as a citizen. So, Americans should vote.
- Dowding, Keith. (2005) ‘Is it rational to vote? Five types of answer and a suggestion.’ The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 7, no. 3: 442-459.
- Blais, André, and Robert Young. (1999) ‘Why do people vote? An experiment in rationality.’ Public Choice 99, no. 1-2: 39-55.