From picking straws to tabulating machines, voting has changed drastically. Though the voting system has advanced and is an integral component of the U.S. government, it still has its flaws embedded within. Glitches can be observed everywhere, starting with registration followed by other things such as voting procedures, types of campaigns, various systems, and other situations.
To even begin to think about voting, you need to register. Sounds simple, right? Think again. To be able to vote, one must be registered at least thirty days prior to the election. Not so bad, eh? Well, start adding on the other things that make registering a hassle. For starters, if you decide to change addresses you have to reregister, which means you have to fill out that tiresome questionnaire again. Also, the opportunity for young adults to register is scarce. Of course "Uncle Sam" says you have to apply for the draft, and therefore mails a form so you can die for your country, but to mail these "undesirable" youngsters a form to sign up to vote would be ridiculous and irrational. A simple way to help eliminate this problem is to mail all eligible voters a registration form, giving everyone who desires the chance to vote the ability to.
What day would be the perfect day to vote? Well obviously the U.S. government believes that Tuesday is the ideal day. This, however, makes it difficult for the working class family to reach the voter's booth because of the lack of time. This is only one of a number of things that are askew with the voting procedures. Not only is the day inconvenient, but so is the place in which you have to vote. Each district has only one place where the members can vote, meaning if it is crowded, you in for a long wait. Like registering, a easy way to alleviate this problem is by making voting possible over the phone, through the mail (such as in Washington), or on the internet by using a password and social security number to gain access. This would make it easier on the 9 to 5 worker, providing them with a chance to relax at home and still vote.
Along with the tedious procedures involved in voting, comes the different election and party systems. There are basically two types of political parties: Democrat and Republican. Though these two differ in name, their platforms are remarkably similar to each other. This may confuse citizens because they may not now what party their preferences lie. Another turn-off of voting is all the negative campaigning done by the parties or interest groups that run on T.V. and the radio. With the constant declaration (which happens to be defamation) of anti-social acts such as "soft on crime" and "always votes for higher taxes" the American citizen gets tired. Rare is it to find an advertisement on the television that doesn't attack the opponent of the party. This detracts from citizens willingness to vote because, due to these ads, the nominees are portrayed as pugnacious politicians. Really, who would want to vote if the two people they have to choose from have such treacherous pasts. If campaigners would start focusing on their issues rather than the flaws of their competitors, the environment presented would make it much more pleasant, resulting in more voters.
With so many different positions available, the amount of qualified participants greatly diminishes. The result of this ends up being that some people, due to the poor candidates, just don't care to vote. Candidates (not all, but a majority) end up giving shallow answers to an array of questions they know little about, instead of actually focusing on a few issues that they deem important. They end up giving answers that every one wants to hear, but yet they don't explain how they are to perform these magical feats. Not only does this occur, but when the two "combatants" enter a debate they always try to top the other with unrealistic goals. This basically turns off some voters by the sheer fact that the voters experience, and therefore know, more than the delegates due about the issues. A way to avoid this, is to scrutinize the debaters heavily, so that the process of weeding out the undesirables is easier.
As stated in Jacobson "in 1992 more than 104,425,000 votes were cast for U.S. president". Now take away one vote. Seem insignificant? Well, this is a view many U.S. citizens take in regards to elections. They believe their one vote won't sway the results in either way, so why bother. Another problem that brings a feeling of powerlessness is the amount of electoral votes their states have. With small states, people again feel ineffective because "how can their states points rack up to the likes of Texas and California."
With the advancing of technology, voting procedures are bound to change, though some tradition stays intact. With the advancing of education, hopefully, the rest of the problems dissolve. Only then, with the combination of both, can we have a voting "utopia", but until then the method currently in use is, by far, the best.