Thursday, November 02, 2006

Election Time In The US

Next week is election time here in the US, and unless you turn on the TV, you barely notice that important elections are round the corner. There is no noise on the streets, no public open meetings, and absolutely no involvement of college students in the entire process. Elections in India are so much more fun.

The fun part aside, to me there are several surprising elements about the electoral process here. Election day is not a public holiday! I believe election day must be a holiday, so that it is convenient for everybody to go out and vote. The elections are conducted by the local county. There is no central authority like the Election Commission we have in India. I think our system of having a constitutionally mandated central election authority conduct all elections is much more efficient and better. An independent organization that specializes in conducting elections ensures that there is very little or no bias in the process and also that local government resources are not strained.

It is possible that the above reasons explain the abysymally low turnout at the polls here compared to the very high turnouts (typically >60%) we have in India. I get the feeling that the so called 'world's greatest democracy' does very little to motivate its citizens to vote. This may be one area where our system is far superior.

Here is a AP/Yahoo News story on Why do so few people vote in the US?. As far as I know, the article just doesn't seems to get it! Also read this interesting article...Prof Greg Mankiw explains why some people shouldn't vote

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