Attention class! It’s time to vote. I know you’d rather do other things, like watch TV or surf the Internet, but this is important. So let’s take a quick trip back in time to the 1950’s, with an excerpt from Irene McDermott’s Living for Young Moderns. Though the exact numbers are a bit different than they are today, I think we can all agree that times haven’t changed a whole lot when it comes to voter turnout. Gosh bless America, everyone!
1956: Your Vote is Important ~ to You
There are approximately 98,377,000 people in the United States who are eligible to vote. This includes all those who are twenty-one years or more of age, plus the eighteen-, nineteen-, and twenty-year-olds in Georgia and Kentucky where young people are allowed to vote at the age of eighteen. In the 1952 Presidential election only 61,680,000 went to the polls and cast their ballots. This is only about sixty-three per cent of all the people who could have voted if they had wished to do so.
These figures may seem dull to you until you realize that there are some thirty-six and one-half million citizens in the United States who apparently do not take very seriously their responsibilities of citizenship. More than one-third of the eligible voters did not vote in the 1952 election. Of course illness and absence from home would account for some voters not getting to the polls, but not for such a huge number.
A cynical comment on this situation was made in a feature column of the Pittsburgh Post-Gaxette, where democracy was defined as ‘a system under which a man who doesn’t vote spends his time criticizing the candidates other men have elected.’ This so-called definition states an unpleasant truth about ‘We, the people’ who have inherited the right to govern our own country.
It is not amazing that so many people care so little about the American way of life that they will not take the trouble to vote? What do you think would happen to our country if no one at all went to the polls? Do you know that in our past elections, especially in the elections for state and local offices, less than one-third of the people have case their ballots?
Why is it important to you as an individual to vote? Because it is one of the best ways in which you can do your share in taking care of your country.
Source: McDermott, Irene E. and Florence Nicholas. Living For Young Moderns. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1956.
~ p. 321 ~