Democracy gives citizens a broad spectrum of powers to control the processes taking place in their countries. Voting is considered to be the cornerstone of the democratic system that makes people feel responsible and involves them in significant social and political decision-making (Ciesielczuk, 2015). Voting provides an opportunity to shape policies regarding education, taxation, medical care, social support, civil rights, homeland security, etc. By voting, people make their voice heard and can express their fears, concerns, needs, and aspirations on the national level (Ciesielczuk, 2015). However, an increasing number of people became disillusioned in their ability to affect anything, so they refuse to participate in elections. In this essay, I argue that disillusionment as the main cause of not voting can have a detrimental effect on the society.
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Statistics demonstrate that millions of people in the United States prefer not to vote. A study by Pew Research Center showed that only 55.7% of voting-age citizens cast ballots in the last year’s presidential election (Desilver, 2017). It means that the USA lags behind many developed democratic states when it comes to using the fundamental civil right of voting, with turnout rates remaining alarmingly low compared to Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and many other countries. So, how a country taking pride in being one of the most powerful democratic states have turned out to be unable to engage citizens in decision-making?
The primary cause of low turnout rate is disillusionment. Many people have come to believe that politicians have nothing to offer them, that they are either unwilling or unable to help the regular citizens. For example, Thrasher (2016) argued that black voters have become disillusioned after the Barak Obama’s presidency because little has changed in terms of black peoples’ rights – this population is still underemployed, discriminated, and underrepresented in business, education, and politics. Similarly, Hispanic Americans have been dissatisfied with the way people tolerated Trump’s aggressive rhetoric regarding ethnic minorities (Thrasher, 2016). In other words, different population groups have their own reasons for not voting, which are mainly caused by politicians’ inability to address their needs and concerns properly. Low political awareness and absence of knowledge regarding registration and voting process itself aggravate the situation even more (Ciesielczuk, 2015).
Effects of low political engagement can be detrimental for individual citizens and the society in general. People do not realize that their vote matters, and that when they fail to express their position, they have no right to complain. Some think that only presidential elections matter and do not vote on the state or local levels. It is a mistake because many decisions taken by the local authorities affect people’s lives much more than federal policies do (Marans and Bellware, 2016). Therefore, reluctance to participate in elections deprives citizens of the opportunity to initiate positive changes. Moreover, voting helps people express their dissatisfaction with the current policies, thus urging politicians to listen and respect their opinion. Unfortunately, many people prefer to complain or suffer silently without taking any steps to change the situation. Naturally, this approach will not lead to any improvements but only give more freedom to politicians to pursue their own interests.
To summarize, it is vital to use one’s right to vote. A person may be dissatisfied with the current policies or political decisions, but this disillusionment should not serve as a barrier to civic engagement. Evidence shows that millions of Americans prefer not to vote because they do not feel empowered to make any changes in the society. This position is dangerous because it gives too much power to politicians and prevents different population groups from making their voices heard. Although it may seem that one vote does not count, the contribution of every person matters on the national level when millions of people unite to express their opinion.
Ciesielczuk, J., 2015. Why is voting in elections so important? One Europe. [online] Available at
Desilver, D., 2017. U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout. Pew Research Center. [online] Available at:
Marans, D. and Bellware, K., 2016. 7 reasons you should vote in this year’s elections. Huffington Post, [online] 19 February. Available at:
Thrasher, S. W., 2016. This was the election of disillusionment. The Guardian, [online] 8 November. Available at:
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