Originally created 11/25/03

Voter apathy plagues political process



I was watching ABC around 8 p.m. a few Tuesdays ago when I saw the election results scroll by. One candidate won by four votes, with just over 100 people voting. It dawned on me that more people had to sign a petition to allow you to run for governor in the California recall election (it took only 65 votes to be put on the ballot) than voted for this man.

What's the nation coming to?

Under a democratic government, a majority of the citizens elects officials. By directly choosing our leaders - based on their principles - we directly affect the outcome of the laws.

Why, then, is it that some adults don't cast their ballots and teens seem to have little desire to vote?

Voter apathy is one of the biggest problems in the political process. It shouldn't be. We the people have direct contact to the people making our laws. Yet we act as though we don't even care on Election Day.

You can bet, though, that once we commit to a course of action or elect a certain official, protesters will fill the streets. If we want to complain about the job the government is doing, we should at least exercise our right to vote.

Still, getting us to vote is only half the problem. A good majority of our nation is asleep at the polls. We don't care who runs the country or how they go about doing it. We don't know the facts on the issues because we're too lazy to do a little research.

For instance, I read where a woman said she supports Wesley Clark because he "looks like a president." Is that what we're basing the leader of the free world on?

Too many people don't research for whom they're voting - not just the ones who vote for the candidate they think looks good, but also those voting straight-party tickets. If we run our country like a popularity contest, we won't elect the best representatives available. We need to vote based on candidates' stances on issues, on their plans for the future,not for how well they look and talk in front of cameras.

Lack of voter knowledge is inexcusable, as is voter apathy. We need to inform ourselves about the issues and vote or risk losing the democracy for which this country is known.

Chris Baugh is a sophomore at Evans High School.