Low voter participation poses considerable threats to the basis of democratic countries as many groups of people may have no representation in their governments, which eventually leads to social tension. Although the presidential elections of 2020 in the USA were characterized by the highest voter turnout since the 1910s, it is rather low (approximately 65%) compared to earlier times (Kostelka & Blais, 2021). One of the reasons for this trend is associated with global changes, as an increasing number of voters tend to avoid participating in elections globally (Kostelka & Blais, 2021). Younger people do not vote and explain their choice by having a limited time or being sure that their votes do not matter. At the same time, the 2020 presidential elections in the United States also suggest that voters are more mobilized when there is certain polarization in society and when public discussions are intense (Kostelka & Blais, 2021). Therefore, it is possible to facilitate voting by ensuring wide-ranging and animated discussions in American society.
Another reason for low voter participation is associated with certain legal issues. Many Americans eligible to vote are unable to participate in elections due to some difficulties with registration (Khalid et al., 2018). It is critical to make sure that registration procedures do not pose any obstacle to eligible people’s participation. Thus, the changes to the corresponding regulations can lead to an increase in voter participation. It is important to pay specific attention to the registration of the most vulnerable groups, including ethnic minorities and the elderly. All in all, the implementation of changes in registration procedures and the involvement of more people in the discussion of the most burning issues can be instrumental in enhancing voter participation in the USA.
The judicial system of the United States has been associated with a considerable degree of institutional racism. It is argued that people of color (especially African Americans and Latinos) tend to be judged by the color of their skin rather than their deeds (Sanchez, 2020). Reports show that African Americans often make up the largest group in prisons and jails compared to their counterparts, even in the states where they represent a small portion of the overall population (Sanchez, 2020). These people also receive longer prison sentences and longer probation terms. One of the most common areas of discrimination is associated with stop-and-frisk policies.
People of color are more often suspected of having committed a crime or being engaged in a felony. They are stopped in the streets much more often as compared to their white counterparts due to the existing prejudice (Sanchez, 2020). Police officers tend to believe that African Americans are inclined to commit crimes due to some social issues, as well as based on personal experiences (Sanchez, 2020). It is possible and important to address the problem of institutional racism related to stop-and-frisk policies. Training programs for police officers aimed at informing about statistics and institutional racism can be helpful. Police officers should be able to reflect on their views and possible bias, which will lead to changes in their mindsets. Programs involving enhanced communication and interaction between police officers and the community should also be launched. The two sides should understand each other, which will minimize the bias of police officers and the members of the community.
Khalid, A., Gonyea, D., & Fadel, L. (2018). On the sidelines of democracy: Exploring why so many Americans don’t vote. NPR. Web.
Kostelka, F., & Blais, A. (2021). Global voter turnout has been in decline since the 1960s – We wanted to find out why. The Conversation. Web.
Sanchez, R. (2020). Harvard study finds institutional racism ‘permeates’ the Massachusetts justice system. CNN. Web.