Despite the attention the presidential election has drawn, less than 60 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. cast a ballot.
Academics from Latin America living in Reno have a unique perspective on this issue, as voting is compulsory in many Latin American countries.
Melisa Prior is a teacher at UNR visiting from Argentina, where those who don’t participate can be fined.
Though she does understand why some Americans aren’t interested in voting.
“Nosotros en Argentina tenemos más candidatos, entonces, por lo general, uno tiene más opciones para votar,” dijo Prior.
[“In Argentina we have more candidates, therefore, in general, people have more options when they vote,” she said.]
She also said America’s two party system makes it more difficult for residents to identify with a candidate who reflects their values.
Others, like Mauricio Rojas Durand, a Peruvian graduate student in Reno, said failure to identify with a candidate should not deter people.
“El no votar no contribuye a la política. En realidad es algo muchísimo más grande porque no votar es no contribuir al desarrollo de tu país,” dijo Rojas Durand.
[“Not voting does not contribute to politics. In reality, it’s something a lot bigger because to not vote is to not contribute to the development of your country,” he said.]
In both Argentina and Peru, it is possible to submit a null ballot where no candidate is selected.