We should encourage voting, but not force it on people

Voter turnout is often held up as a measure of the health of our democracy. Many people suggest that because participation has generally been on the decline, that’s a sign that people are fed up with the system. I’m not sure that’s an obvious conclusion. It could just as easily be a sign that some people are generally content and don’t feel a huge incentive to change anything. Either way, some people scorn those who choose not to vote, saying they have no right to comment on the outcome if they don’t participate.

I’d like more people to vote but I think we should respect those who choose not to. We should stimulate interest. We should promote the idea of participating in the electoral process. We should create conditions that make it easier for people to join in. But we should never force people to vote. Our democracy would be better if more people participated in the political process. But choosing not to vote is still the right of every citizen.

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