APATHY, INCONVENIENCE AND VOTING
The notion of democracy is a sacred one. In its most idealistic sense it is an inclusive idea; a blueprint for a society which will aptly pool the collective will of the citizenry, thereby realizing the dream of a government by and for the people. The most basic tool employed in a democratic state is the election. Voting is the essential proof of democracy, for it is the vote that endows the people with the power to influence the policies and laws which rule the land. The United States of America has been a symbol of democracy since its inception, championing the will of the people above all else. However, an examination behind the fatade of democracy in the United States reveals a troubling statistic: the U.S. is 20th out of 21 in voter turnout among the established democracies of the world(Grofman, 1999).
American citizens have found reasons to sidestep the cornerstone of the democratic process. Political scientists and pollsters have sought to unearth specifics - any explanation for the tide of apathy that has brought Americans to the polls in ever diminishing numbers in recent decades. And the explanations are numerous: a laborious voter registration process, lengthy ballots, negative campaigning among candidates, a disassociation from the two main political parties, and a lack of trust for the government in general have all been pinpointed as contributors to the voter apathy that grips the masses (Grofman, 1999; Project Vote Smart, 1999).
Of course, with the indices of the problem well in mind, solutions are quick to follow. Many suggestive plans have surfaced in recent years that would make voting a simpler, more convenient, and ultimately more inclusive process for the electorate. Weekend voting and the altering of voting booth locations to accommodate voters are two reforms that have been considered (Grofman, 1999). More drastic measures that have been explored...