Should citizens be required to vote? Local eighth-graders say yes

Thursday, February 8, 2024
Explaining the procedure at the voting and civic duty station, League of Women Voters volunteer Pam Propsom speaks with a pair of local eighth-grade students Monday.
Courtesy photo/LWV GREENCASTLE

Civic involvement at the individual level is a cornerstone of a healthy, functioning democracy.

Yet when approximately two-thirds of the voting-eligible population turned out nationwide for the 2020 presidential election, it was a high-water mark for a national election in recent decades, with turnout often hovering around 50 percent, particularly in non-presidential years.

With this in mind, the League of Women Voters of Greencastle posed the following question to area eighth-graders during the return of Reality Fair Monday at the Putnam County Fairgrounds:

In many countries, it is a requirement to vote. Do you think it should be mandatory (required) in the U.S.?

By a combined count of 201-141, a 58-percent majority, participating eighth-graders from Cloverdale, Greencastle, North Putnam, South Putnam and Eminence said they believed, yes, voting should be a requirement.

Looking at the schools individually, only North Putnam, by a count of 47-37 (56 percent) in favor of not requiring voting, ran in opposition to the overall majority.

Among the other schools, the vote counts ran 31-26 (54 percent) at Cloverdale, 70-39 (62 percent) at Greencastle, 50-31 (62 percent) at South Putnam and 13-1 (93 percent) at Eminence — all in favor of mandatory voting.

What’s especially ironic, considering the subject matter, is that according to student counts provided by the schools prior to the event, voter turnout ran at 84 percent. South Putnam was they highest at 91 percent, followed by Cloverdale (90) North Putnam (85), Greencastle (78) and Eminence (64)

The participation numbers were based on expected students, not those in attendance Monday, so it’s unclear how much absences during the height of seasonal illnesses may have contributed.

With the voting complete at the 2024 Reality Fair event, League of Women Voters members Linda Raines (left) and Barbara Boese tally the votes from local eighth-graders on the matter of whether voting should be required in the United States.
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  • Asking eighth graders important questions is how you get Twitter.

    -- Posted by techphcy on Thu, Feb 8, 2024, at 12:42 PM
  • Why would you not ask eighth graders important questions? That’s how they grow and learn.

    -- Posted by Koios on Thu, Feb 8, 2024, at 9:34 PM
  • By all means, ask them. Let’s not set policy based on their answers though. For about 15 years we’ve been setting Twitter policy, which seems to have been submitted by either eighth graders, or eight-year-olds.

    -- Posted by techphcy on Fri, Feb 9, 2024, at 7:07 AM
  • Should citizens have to pass a test to vote?

    -- Posted by beg on Sat, Feb 10, 2024, at 1:57 AM
  • Anyone who supports someone who says this should fail the test.

    The former president hurled personal attacks at Haley throughout an afternoon Get Out The Vote rally at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, most notably questioning the whereabouts of her husband, Maj. Michael Haley, who is serving an active duty deployment in the Horn of Africa for the South Carolina Army National Guard.

    “Where’s her husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away,” Trump said, appearing to imply Haley was having challenges in her marriage that would explain her husband’s absence. “What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone.”

    -- Posted by Koios on Sun, Feb 11, 2024, at 8:44 AM
  • The sound of silence.

    -- Posted by Koios on Mon, Feb 12, 2024, at 10:07 PM
  • *

    I am still trying to figure out why we have Americans from South Carolina doing duty in Africa.

    Your selective moral outrage is funny.

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Wed, Feb 14, 2024, at 8:25 PM
  • Not the point. Respecting our citizens serving for whatever reason is the point. Debating policy is different from debasing those who serve. Not the first time Trump has done this. Won’t be the last I would guess. It’s disgusting.

    -- Posted by Koios on Wed, Feb 14, 2024, at 9:20 PM
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