Editorial Board | Echo
The United States holds a unique position. Few modern countries have held to democratic values like this nation for the past two hundred years, while protecting its citizens right to vote.
Yet the polls remain unattended by many. The Pew Research Center says that an approximate 57.6 million voters voted in the 2016 election, which is only 28.5% of eligible citizens.
In recent years, voting has become controversial. Many believers feel a call to vote, but several despair at the sight of the candidates offered. In a January 2018 poll done by PBS and NPR, only 8% of participants had great confidence in congress, and 19% had great confidence in the presidency.
This might imply that the lack of satisfaction with the system has led to lower voter turnout, but the reverse may be true.
In a January 2018 article titled, "The Chicken and Egg Question: Satisfaction with Democracy and Voter Turnout," the authors Filip Kostelka and André Blais explored the relationship between voter turnout and satisfaction.
"We show that in national and subnational elections, especially those run under majoritarian rules, voting increases the satisfaction of all voters - even those who lost the election - and that it strongly boosts the satisfaction of those who believe they won the election," Kostelka and Blais said.
Assistant professor of political science Jakob Miller echoes a similar sentiment.
"Just voting on its own makes a person more satisfied with their political system. It has a whole host of wonderful psychological effect," Miller said.
Aside from personal satisfaction, Christians also have a responsibility to prayerfully engage with the world, and that comes with a call to participate in the cultures of the land we live in.
A great example of this is the ministry of Paul. He lived a life devoted to Christ, but he admits 1 Corinthians 9 that he alter his ministry for the culture by becoming more like them.
To reach the hearts of the United States, believers must become as its citizens including the responsibility to vote.
"Christians have a duty to get involved," said Miller.
Christians need to spread Christ's message, and the way believers vote can be a powerful message of what is found in the Gospel.
The way we vote, is another way for us to preach Christ to a broken world.
Christians also have a rich history of involvement in the political process. In a brief discussion with Dean of Humanities, Arts and Biblical Studies Tom Jones he pointed out that Christians have often brought their faith forward when discussing the candidates available.
However, our electoral system is voluntary which is important. PBS Newshour, a total of 22 countries hold require their citizens to vote.
"If you don't want to vote. You don't have to," said Miller. "Here in America, we're big on personal freedom. If you genuinely have a moral objection to voting go ahead and don't do it, however I'd be really curious to hear what it is because I can't think of one of the top of my head."
As an Editorial Board, we agree with the above. We recognize the importance of voting and its deep connection to our faith, but we do understand that our nation is based upon the premise of personal freedom. Still, we strongly encourage the former, and we hope to see you at the polls!