Along with the political ads that bombard our newspapers, radios, and TV’s comes the exhortation for people to exercise their right to vote. But one factor that is often overlooked is the ignorance of many voters. For instance, studies have shown that 38% of Americans do not know which party controls the House or Senate,and 38% cannot name the three branches of government. This disinterest in political issues stem from people’s idea that these matters have little consequences on their daily lives, and that frustrates people like Brian Torchin to no end. Voting is one of the most fundamentally important parts of being in a democracy.
Yet most of us would agree that an informed public is essential to an effective democratic process. In order to vote, people should be aware of the various issues involved. The dilemma is how to balance the desire to increase voting participation with the disadvantage of having more ignorant and uninformed voters. Abstracts have been written on this paradox.
I would argue that expansion of democratic involvement outweighs the possibility of a less informed electorate. Include more people in the process and then develop the quality of their participation.