Voting Should Be Made Compulsory for Young People: a Discussion of The Claim

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About this sample


Words: 3200 |

Pages: 7|

16 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Words: 3200|Pages: 7|16 min read

Published: Aug 14, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Declining Interest in Political News Among the Younger Generation
  2. The Impact of Low Youth Turnout on Political Representation
  3. The Challenge of Engaging Young Voters in Political Campaigns
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Starting some time before the United States of America was built up, the early pioneers in Jamestown, Virginia made it a need to cast their voting form and let their voices be heard. Casting a ballot has consistently been a key piece of the American way; albeit numerous individuals have various sentiments concerning in the case of casting a ballot is a right, commitment or a community obligation. In the book 'Is Voting for Young People' by Martin P.Wattenberg, a convincing contention is made that not exclusively are the American young people of the twenty first century withdrawn from governmental issues yet this pattern is getting increasingly common all through the universes progressed built up vote based systems. Martin Wattenberg proceeds to express that, “Because so many young people don’t follow politics and don’t vote, parties and politicians frequently don’t bother with young people, thereby further widening the age bias in electoral participation”. After perusing this book, there were many times that I needed to ponder my very own political cooperation and question whether I fell inside this distant gathering of youthful Americans. I will think more about whether voting should be made compulsory as the aim of this essay is not only to review the book, but to think criticaly about compulsory voting for youth.

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While reading this book I have exploited my entitlement to cast a ballot in the three presidential races since turning the age of eighteen, in any case, my support didn't stretch to using this privilege on a nearby casting a ballot level. In spite of the fact that I might want to differ with the creator that the American youth is withdrawn from legislative issues, I should concur that most of the present youthful grown-ups are essentially not following the governmental issues and political pioneers that will extraordinarily influence their future. It could be contended that this absence of cooperation in governmental issues and the decay of perusing the paper day by day match.

Declining Interest in Political News Among the Younger Generation

Printed papers conveyed to the front entryway of numerous Americans each morning is gradually turning into a relic of times gone by. What used to be viewed as a prized past time is gradually being supplanted by a couple of looks through the features of a most loved news site. In the section The Aging of Regular Newspaper Readers, Wattenberg states that this overall pattern would be of little result if papers were being supplanted with a wellspring of data that individuals could gain from. This enduring decrease is shown in a diagram on page eleven that states in the year 1957 76% of Americans read the paper day by day; quick forward to the year 2004 and that number drops to 41%. Wattenberg proceeds to show actualities that this pattern in an American one, however an overall abatement in paper perusing. The wellsprings of this data are legitimate and demonstrate that the world is in reality perusing less of the paper, yet these realities don't demonstrate this is a contributing component to diminished political investment among youthful qualified voters. Former President George W. Bush admitted that reading the newspaper was not a part of his daily routine. The decreased amount of people not reading the newspaper daily spans across age groups, political parties and backgrounds. With the information presented, I agree with the author that more people are getting the majority of their news from online sources and this information is not in depth, nor does it provide a substantial amount of educational substance. Not only are millions of people choosing not to open up a newspaper to stay current on world events, tuning out of political news on the local news station is also on the rise.

Cable television has had a major impact on the politics of the world. The American people once had a very slim selection of political news to choose from. There were few channels available on the television, therefore, most Americans watched the same news broadcasts and there was little room for varied stores. With the evolution of cable television and the addition of streaming services; it has become very easy to simply tune out or change the channel. In the chapter Is Network TV News a Dying Dinosaur, Wattenberg states that the major news stations have catered the nightly news toward the elderly. On one randomly chosen night, the CBS Nightly News displayed advertisements for products such as Pepto-Bismol, Ambian and Exlax. Even though the nightly news provides programing geared towards the elderly, according to a study by Columbia University’s Project for Excellence in Journalism the nightly news is providing very little actual news. Only 11% of the news featured written and edited stories, coverage of the news was spotty and ignored many important aspects of the story. The author goes on to state that many of Americas youth are selecting to view alternative forms of television instead of tuning in to major political events. With so many young adults tuning out of the nightly news, American news has slowly shifted to providing more entertainment and comedy news. This genre is known as “soft news”. Television shows such as Dateline, Inside Edition and Extra provide very little actual news but may hit on major political events. This chapter covers the aging nightly news viewership and how the younger audience has chosen to tune out of political television coverage. I agree with the author that this has taken major political debates and topics from “water cooler” conversations to a subject that is rarely discussed. I also agree that this has had many effects on the amount of political information that the younger generation is exposed to.

With the lack of newspaper reading and choosing to tune of out of the nightly news and other major news broadcast, the thirty and under crowd are described as “don’t ask anyone under 30” about political information. This point is supported with a study completed in May 2004 by the Pew Research Center. They asked a random sample of over 5000 Americans how much they followed fourteen types of news stories. Out of the total of fourteen stories, there were four that the younger participants followed more closely; entertainment, sports, science and technology and lastly culture and the arts. Political news did not make the top four. Wattengburg continues on to provide facts about the rising education of today’s youth. In the 1940’s it was acceptable to only receive ten years of formal education. By today’s standards the average American receives thirteen years of formal education. It could be assumed that with the increased level of education, there would also be an increased level of political knowledge. This is simply not the case. The studies provided in this chapter continue to support the fact that young adult around the world are not engaged in the politics of today. A study completed by The World Values Survey concludes that 65% of senior citizens in established democracies followed politics in the news every day. Compare this to the fact that only 30% of young adults follow politics every day. Wattenburg closes this chapter by stating, we are what we follow. The young adults of today are following more entertainment news than they are political news. I agree with the author that today’s young adults are more in tuned with entertainment than political news. There is substantial evidence to support this claim. Regrettably I am guilty of choosing entertainment over politics. As a result of the lack of political knowledge displayed by today’s young adults, there is also a lack of participation in local and national elections.

The Impact of Low Youth Turnout on Political Representation

Where have all the young voters gone? That is the question of this next chapter and it is a very good question to ask after the information presented in the first three chapters of this book. Voting participation on a national level is at an all-time low. Factor in voting on a local level and those numbers are even worse. The author describes how political campaigns are geared towards older Americans. This is due to the fact that younger Americans are less likely to participate and provide a vote for their favored candidate. Not only are younger voters less likely to vote, but providing little to no effort to reach this group of voters only widens the gap. Young voters are even less likely to vote on a local level, and these are the politics that have a major impact on their daily lives. Wattenberg concludes this chapter by stating that the lowering of the voting age had little to do with the decrease in voter participation and everything to do with the lack of exposure to politics. This chapter provided compelling evidence that the older generation is voting more than the younger generations. Once again, I must agree with the author that lowering the voting age had little impact but the lack of exposure to politics on a daily basis makes it difficult to understand the importance of political participation. Since there is lack of voting participation, the question of whether voting is still seen as civic duty amongst young adults is important.

For many Americans voting is considered a civic duty, just as one might deem jury as another American citizen’s responsibility. The chapter Do Young Adults See Voting as a Civic Duty analyzes whether young adult hold the point of view that voting is a civic duty. The conclusions of two studies conclude that young Americans are least likely to view voting as a civic duty. This notion is seen across cultural lines. Less than 10% of respondents from Great Britain, Italy and Japan saw voting as a civic duty. The conclusion of this chapter asks if these results are a glimpse into the future of political participation for the world as a whole. The author states that due to the lack of civic responsibility, these voters may be lost for a lifetime. However, he then goes on to suggest that there are ways to convince citizens that their vote counts. The lack of participation is clearly proven in this chapter and I agree that we as citizens should put more effort into casting our vote. I further agree, that with age and maturity there are ways to convince the citizens of the world that their votes does make a difference. However, taking into consideration the fact that the majority of younger adults do not take voting seriously, the question arises that could the results of local and national elections have a different outcome if every eligible voter casted their vote.

Does low youth turn out really matter? I agree with the author, yes, low youth turn out does matter. What a person deems important politically often changes from their early twenties to their early fifties. The beginning of this chapter states that often times younger adults have a more socialist political point of view than older Americans. If these young adults are not voting, then politicians will focus their campaign strategies towards the citizens that are voting. The goal of political campaigns is to be elected and then re-elected. Therefore, younger adults are not being politically represented. In a study completed by the Pew Research Center, younger adults are most likely to be facing the challenges of finding a job and paying for college. In contrast they are least likely to trade stocks and bonds and own a small business. The results of this study show that the views are extremely different amongst different ages and that younger Americans may be more inclined for vote for policies of governmental intervention in the economy. The National Annenberg Election Study concludes that young adults are more likely to vote for policies that include more spending on education and less money on American armed forces and weaponry. With the young American voters this nation could continue down a path that would lead to “the government of older people, by older people, and for older people”. It has been proven that young adults are not exercising their right to vote, but they are exercising their freedom to volunteer.

The Challenge of Engaging Young Voters in Political Campaigns

There is a new civic engagement among young people. The choice to volunteer in one’s local community is on the rise with this generation of young adults. This chapter questions whether this new engagement of hand on political participation can outweigh the lack of participation at the voting stalls. It is stated that the increased numbers of volunteers may be due to the fact that volunteering looks good on college applications. A study completed by the Monitoring the Future National Surveys concludes that students with higher grades and students that have a plan for college success were more likely to volunteer. Wattenberg then provides another study completed by Harvard’s Institute of Politics that states 85% of college students believed that “community voluntarism is better than political engagement for addressing issues facing the community”. Even though casting a ballot interest is consistently declining, network support, reaching political delegates and finding a way to make change is at an untouched high. In any case, I concur with the creator that all together for the more youthful ages voices to be heard legislators must endeavor to effectively draw in the more youthful grown-ups.

The jobs of young people in the 2008 and 2010 decisions was at a record-breaking high. President Obama took advantage of the enthusiasm of the youthful voters and activated armies of youthful volunteers. The 2008 presidential crusade was the first of its sort, in that the web was a significant wellspring of correspondence in arriving at the more youthful grown-ups. An exploration study finished by the Pew Research Center inferred that there was a tremendous development in web utilization in the battle contrasted with 2004. Indeed, even with the high quantities of political volunteers, the 2008 political decision didn't draw the youthful voter's consideration enough to tune into the political discussions, and youthful voters were to the least extent liable to take part in political battle telephone reviews. For each 100 senior residents the Obama battle made 94 voter contacts. Contrasted with each 100 youngsters there was just 29 contacts made. The finish of this part paints a dull picture for what is taken a gander at as the time of the youthful voters. Although casting a ballot investment was at an unequaled high with youthful grown-ups, that age statistic is as yet considered to have the most reduced number of dynamic voters. The proof displayed in this section is unmistakably expressed. Recalling the 2008 and 2010 decisions raises recollections of political energy for me. I concur that these years were the long periods of the youthful voters.

In the wake of investigating the entirety of the contributing components with respect to the youthful grown-ups’ absence of cooperation in legislative issues, an answer is required. In this part Wattenberg shares that he accepts necessary democratic is the main alternative. I anyway unequivocally can't help contradicting this arrangement. The United States of America was established on opportunity. I don't accept that the legislature should constrain a resident to make their choice. I do accept that casting a ballot in a city obligation, an obligation that I plan on practicing for the rest of my years. Driving individuals to cast a ballot about something they couldn't care less about could bring about them making arbitrary pickings, as they would lottery numbers. Even though the creator accepts that a high voter turnout would guarantee that all voices are heard. The facts demonstrate that all voices would be heard, regardless of whether they are imprudent voices. In other words, I do not agree or believe it is in anyone’s best interest to force society, especially young people to vote for someone or something they do not solemnly believe in. This could be the very reason that the percentage of young people and adolescents voting has decreased and is decreasing, because they are being pushed away.


In conclusion, the book 'Is Voting for Young People' gives an unmistakable and elegantly composed investigation of the issues that are created with the absence of support among youthful voters. I have consistently accepted and adopted that casting a ballot is and consistently has been a central piece of the American way. This book gave the proof required and sufficient supporting examples to help the board issues that are an aftereffect of an absence of political intrigue and information inside the more youthful grown-up statistic. Although I don't concur with the writer concerning his answers, he made a convincing contention and gave a book that contained sound references and opened my point of view on what is extremely significant concerning my political interest. All in all the ideas mentioned at the end of his text are good as a starting point for addressing the many issues that result in the lack of political involvement in younger voters. Questionable becomes the need for government to enforce of push voter who are just not interested in political issues and such how Watternberg expresses “The answer to the question posed by the title of this book-'Is Voting for Young People'?-is that it certainly should be but all too often is not.” Nonetheless, my general assessment of 'Is Voting for Young People' is that it was very advising. I knew how low voter turnout is among young people in the United States however had no clue about that the global world shared that issue. Except for Compulsory Voting countries, numerous countries share a comparable democratic circumstance to the United States. The way that such a significant number of young people today don't take an interest in decisions rouses me to assist my generation with becoming even more politically educated. At the end of day, we are America’s future and should take both pride and interest in that. We should assume the responsibility that our future depends on the actions and decisions that we make know. We are American’s future, therefore voting should not only be for the elders, but for the young as well. Like Plato once said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”


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  2. Leighley, J. E., & Nagler, J. (2013). Who votes now? Demographics, issues, inequality, and turnout in the United States. Princeton University Press.

  3. Lijphart, A., & Baisnee, O. (2011). Compulsory voting. Electoral Studies, 30(1), 27-40.

  4. Cordero, G. M., & Simpser, A. (2019). Compulsory voting, habit formation, and political participation. World Politics, 71(4), 704-736.

  5. Karp, J. A., & Banducci, S. A. (2001). Going Postal: How All-Mail Elections Influence Turnout. Political Behavior, 23(1), 29-53.

  6. Jackman, S., & Volpert, K. (1996). Conditions favoring parties of the left. Party Politics, 2(1), 29-57.

  7. Burden, B. C. (2014). A measure of enthusiasm: Public attitudes toward election reform. Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, 13(3), 314-328.

  8. White, S. R. (2015). Compulsory Voting in the United States: Against Our Constitutional Rights. Oklahoma Law Review, 67(3), 587-614.

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  9. Bergman, M. E., & Efremov, A. (2013). Voting age youth and the minimum age of candidacy: a global analysis. Youth & Society, 45(2), 183-201.

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Voting Should Be Made Compulsory for Young People: a Discussion of the Claim. (2023, August 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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Voting Should Be Made Compulsory for Young People: a Discussion of the Claim. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
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