Examining the United States Voting System

The United States prides itself on being the home of the free and providing equal opportunity to everybody, but when voting season comes around it’s clear this is not exactly the case. To vote in Oklahoma, you must provide a form of identification, this can be your voter ID, driver’s license, or you must agree to sign a provisional affidavit to confirm your identity. This provides an option for those who are unable to obtain an ID, but it is a little-known alternative. This is a clear show that voting is not meant to be for everyone. The United States shows very little concern on getting the voices of everyone heard, especially when you take a look at how some of the world’s other leading countries are doing it.

            Compared to other countries, the US seems to be making it more difficult for citizens to vote. Countries such as Canada, France, Australia, and Germany have an automatic registration system in place for citizens who are of legal age. Government agencies take it upon themselves to register civilian information and compile it to a comprehensive list of voters, which you are able to remove yourself from if so desired. This system removes the responsibility to register from the voters themselves to the agencies who have their information. There are very few advertised opportunities for new American voters unless they take an active interest in having their voice heard in politics. This is part of the reason the United States has such a low voter turn-out time and time again, it is on the constituents to register with very little information put out on how to even begin the process. The United States also expects its residents to gather their own information and get themselves registered before a certain date before any given election, while in Canada you can register to vote at the polls as long as you have proof of residency.

            The issue of required identification comes to a head when you look at the difference between states and countries as a whole. The state of Oklahoma will take only three forms of ID; a government issued photo ID, a free voter identification card, or a provisional affidavit requested at the polling location. While, the state of Texas offers seven options for identification; driver’s license, election identification certificate, personal identification card, handgun license, military identification, citizenship certificate with photograph, or a United States passport. The Texas policies are immediately more inclusive of different communities throughout the population. These two states are a good example of how different the policies are just over state lines, now how does the United States as a whole compare to other countries? Canada accepts 40 possible forms of identification and has identical voting hours and requirements across the whole country. Countries with more progressive and inclusive voting policies have been shown to have a higher overall voter turn-out rate than the United States.

            With these policies being enacted across the world you can see how the United States may be able to improve their policies to be more inclusive. These strategies are clearly a solution to the issue of low voter turn-out. There are plenty of people in the United States in support of more broad voting policies, OSU student Tanner Luther summed up the thought process of many young Americans into one sentence, “voter registration is voter suppression.”

There is a push for a better system from the younger generation of American voters and the United States could make a serious change. Until any revisions are made, look into your voting resources and get informed.