“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. ” Americans have heard this statement for decades. Those who feel that it is their duty, hold to this statement as if it were sacred. For the most part it is true. America has been fortunate to have a system that allows its citizens to take part in voting for the lawmakers who will represent them. Over time, more freedoms have come to the American people. African Americans, women, and eighteen year old individuals now have the liberty that was not afforded to them in the beginning of this great nation. They fought for this right, and many gave their lives for this privilege.
Why would they believe this right is so important? They knew that the right to vote meant that lawmakers would have to listen to their needs to insure their reelections. The right to vote meant power. Voting in America is definitely a privilege, but there are flaws in the system. The first defect is the Electoral College that elects the president. The electors meet in each State on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 13, 2004). A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President and Vice President.
No Constitutional provision or Federal law requires electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their State. (NARA) This factor takes away the right of the people to choose the president. The popular vote is the real will of the people. Four times in the history of the election for the president the popular vote and the electoral votes were at odds. The first was in 1824 when Andrew Jackson won the popular vote, but John Quincy Adams was chosen to be president instead. Other times were Samuel J. Tilden vs. Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland vs. Benjamin Harrison, and in the recent 2000 election Albert Gore vs. George W.
Bush. It is impossible to judge whether the right decision was made or not, but that is not the point. The American voters should have been the ones to make the decision. The other flaw that should be addressed is the right of college students to vote in the area where they are attending school. They should use the absentee ballot of there state, county and town where they have resided. Of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 (typically referred to as college students), 32 percent vote. Now, certainly there are reasons for this, shedding a negative light on both the system that we are in and the kids that live with us.
(Luckett) The problem is that while students are of age and should have the right to, they should not be making local decisions in the town and county where they are only going to be residing for a few years. In most cases, out of town students will pack up and move away from their college when they graduate or decide no to finish. There is nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that since they knew they would not reside in that area for a long period of time, they had no motivation to properly think about the consequences of their votes.
When long term residents cast their votes they know that they will live with the results of the election for the rest of their lives, and that it will affect their children and grandchildren as well. America offers its citizens a wonderful opportunity to have a say in their government. Their decisions will lives for generations to come. That does not mean that the voting system is perfect. These problems can be solved and America can remain the greatest country in the world. Works Cited “A Procedural Guide to the Electoral College,” NARA, 30, May, 2007 < http://www.
archives. gov/federal-register/electoral-college/procedural_guide. html> “Elections. ” Info USA, 30, May, 2007 < http://www. archiv es. gov/federal- register/electoralcollege/procedural_guide. html> Grossman, Wendy M. “Ballot Breakdown” Scientific American. 19, January 2004 <http://www. archives. gov/federal-register/electoral-college/procedural_guide. html > Luckett, Wade. “Voting Lets College Students Have Say in the Future of America. ” Flyer News. September 26, 2003 <http://www. flyernews. com/article. php? section=Opinions&volume=51&issue=6&artnum=06>