Essay: Is the US Election Process Fair?

Is the United States election process fair? It depends on who you ask. There are many facets of the election process that must be explored to determine fairness.

The US election process starts with the once a decade census. The results of the US Census help determine how voting districts will be formed. Legislators have worked since the beginning of this country to ensure that the newly formed districts were fair to each member, regardless of race or socio-economic status. The method of drawing districts to accommodate various categories of people is often referred to as gerrymandering and can result in some very interestingly shaped districts.  The method of using the US Census to shape districts is only as good as the data collected from individuals completing the form. Each individual who completes the census form contributes to making the election process more inherently fair.

Once local, state or national districts are established and vetted by the various groups that have a vested interest in these districts, it is time to review the rest of the election process to determine if it is fair. Elections start with campaigns. And there is a lot of opportunity to mess with the fairness of the US election process.

To start with, the amount of money spent on elections inherently leads itself to a lack of fairness. The system is set up in such a way that only those with sufficient funds or political connections are able to run. That means that potential qualified candidates could be shut out of the process simply because they are short on funds or lack the necessary political clout. One example of how this plays out is the political dynasty of the Bush family. The elder George Bush served successfully in local, state, and national politics which opened the door for his son, also George Bush, to serve in a similar political path, ultimately ending in the same job as his father – the Presidency of the United States of America.

Finally, there have been allegations that the US election process is not fair when it comes time for people to step into the ballot box. In the past of course, polling tests and fees made the system inherently unfair. Now though, the US has banned any sort of voting test or fee in a step to ensure that everyone has equal access to the ballot box. The situations that may still make the US election process unfair are limited polling hours, the lack of ballots in languages other than English, overly complicated ballot measures that are difficult to understand, or the location of polling places too far from the voters’ homes.

Ultimately, whether or not one thinks the US election process is fair depends entirely on that person’s personal experience and perspective on voting in the US. There are many opportunities for fairness to be lost and it is the responsibility of everyone involved to do what they can to ensure a United States election process that is fair.