One of the biggest culture shocks for me as an Australian living (some of the time) in the USA is voting. Every election year I’ve been here there have been voter intimidation and fraud scandals. Maybe I missed it, but that does not happen at home. Not every single election.
Seems to me that the aim in the US is to make voting as difficult as possible. Why? I don’t get it. I’ve had friends disallowed to vote because the official said they had the wrong ID. It didn’t exactly match the name on the voter rolls. As in, their driver’s license had their middle name spelled out in full, “Rachel”, but the voter roll had just a middle initial, “R”. I’ve heard of all sorts of arcane local voting rules that are aimed solely at keeping people from voting.
I find it incomprehensible because I come from a country where voting is made as easy as possible. In fact, you get fined if you don’t vote. Back home there are no books teaching you how to avoid having your vote suppressed.
Also what’s with the voting day being a Tuesday and then that day not being declared a holiday? I know people who have a really hard time getting off work in order to vote. Sadly they live in areas where early voting isn’t possible.
And what’s with all the different areas of the US having different methods of voting? Paper ballots here, mechanical machines there, electronic machines way over there, and goat’s entrails in the hinterlands. Wouldn’t uniform voting laws across the country so that everyone casts their vote in the same way make a lot more sense?
Again. I just don’t get it. At home we have an independent electoral authority in charge of the whole thing. And, like I said we don’t have voting scandals every election.
A country that makes voting hard is making democracy hard. Voting isn’t just a right, it’s a duty.
So you don’t think I’m entirely down on the USian version of democracy here’s what I like about the US system:
Brilliant idea. I wish Australia did that. One person in power for more than eight years is a really bad idea.