Why Is Voting so Important?


Quick Answer

Voting is one of the surest ways for citizens to establish influence over elected officials. Because politicians are concerned primarily with the most vocal elements of their constituencies, groups of people who do not vote tend to receive less attention. This ultimately translates into less power for non-voters to affect the formation of public policy in accordance with their own private interests.

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Why Is Voting so Important?
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Full Answer

Elected officials attend to a great number of extremely important policy issues. These concern the distribution of social resources, the creation or nullification of laws and the limitations or restrictions that affect daily life. For young people just reaching voting age, such issues range in gravity from considering the legal drinking age to the government's ability to draft young men and women into the armed forces, the latter conceivably being a life or death proposition. Because politicians want to appear effective, and because they often desire re-election, they typically choose pathways that please the most people who will then re-elect them. Consequently, people who tend not to vote have limited influence.

On the other hand, lobbies that participate regularly and exert a collective will tend to receive large amounts of attention from policy makers. For example, the senior lobby wields considerable influence in Washington, because the elderly tend to vote and to have strong non-governmental organizations like the AARP to advocate for them. While voting does not guarantee that the policy a person supports will ultimately be adopted, not voting promotes no chance at all. Supporters of democracy insist that voting is one of the most cherished rights in a free society. To vote is to celebrate this way of life and to remember that it is denied many around the world. Voting is both a civic responsibility and a method of practicing awareness of access to political participation.

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