Letter to the Editor: Low voter turnout does not challenge totalitarian regimes

By and


I believe that Edward Stevenson’s argument to not vote

(“Don’t Vote!” Oct. 6) has extremely dangerous consequences, many that he has not considered.

He calls for us to “join the 75 percent of Americans who won’t

vote.” Not likely. Voter turnout in any U.S. presidential election has never dropped below 45 percent since 1952.

Stevenson later speaks of how

totalitarian regimes use elections to enhance legitimacy. Most “regimes” prefer not to hold elections.

The final argument that I will address is Stevenson’s example of how Latin American countries force their citizens to vote, and how the “100 percent turnout” is a cause of their horrible governments. A close examination of the top 10 voter turnout countries will invalidate this statement.

They are (in descending order) Australia, Singapore,

Uzbekistan, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Nauru, Bahamas,

Indonesia, Burundi and Austria, according to the Web address http://www.idea.int). In conclusion, it is ridiculous to

say that voter turnout has any relation to quality of

government or life.

Stevenson’s ideas have dangerous consequences. Consider the consequences if the voter

turnout was lowered to the point where bribery and vote-buying became a viable way to win. His ideas might create the democracies that totalitarian regimes seem to

love so much.

I am as disillusioned with this presidential election as much as the next person. Stevenson’s suggestion, however, is far from the right answer. His factual arguments are also extremely embarrassing to that for which the Chronicle stands.

Benjamin Yang

Graduate Student,

Electrical Engineering