3 Countries Where It's Easier To Vote Than the United States

From ABC News

By Cristina Costantini

If you've been following the news for the past decade or so, you've probably heard a lot of complaining about our voting system: hanging chads, voter ID laws, long lines, untrained polling workers, the electoral college, voter fraud and so forth.

In the United States, voting laws vary drastically from state to state. While Minnesota, for example, has same-day voter registration and no picture ID laws, other states, like Tennessee, require voters to register a month ahead of time and present a picture ID when they get to the polls. 

Various factors in certain states -- including strict ID qualifications, long registration periods, time-consuming lines at the polls, and the fact that the election takes place on a Tuesday (a work-day) -- make voting more complicated for Americans. Voting law opponents contend that the patchwork of voting restrictions discourages certain individuals from voting --- namely, minorities, the elderly, the working class, and the poor.

Whether these hurdles have an impact on the outcome of the election or not, here are a few countries that have figured out how to make voting a little easier for real people:

1. Sweden

Voting in Sweden (unlike constructing Ikea furniture) is not a huge headache. The Swedes have a virtually automatic enrollment system, which tracks every citizen's name, address, birth, and marital status. Voting registration is automatic, and for every election, proof of registration material is sent to the homes of every eligible Swedish citizen in the national database. Read more here about Sweden's voting practices...

...The United States ranks 138th out of 172 countries in voter turnout, with less than half of Americans turning up to vote in the last presidential election. It could be nothing more than old-fashioned apathy, but a complicated set of voting rules probably doesn't help much.

Aside from the three aformentioned nations, which all have higher voter turnout than the U.S., other countries have made voting easier by holding election day on a holiday or a weekend, instead of a day of the working week, like we do in the United States. Many of such countries have higher voter turnout than the United States, including France (67.3 percent voter turnout), Germany (80.2 percent), Russia (56.6 percent), Thailand (82.1 percent) and Japan (68.7 percent).


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