Friday, October 7, 2016


Why do other industrialized nations in the West have a significantly higher voter turnout rate?
Most industrialized nations get up to 90% voter turnout compared to America’s 50-60% during a good year. Their secret to their success lies in fines or punishments of non-voters, more political parties for better representation of a diverse population, and automatic or same day registration.

What are some reasons for such a low voter turnout for America?
Institutional barriers like registration, long ballots, types of elections, and too many elections deter many eligible people from voting. In addition, many young people do not vote, defeating the purpose of the 26th Amendment. Many Americans believe that they lack political efficacy, are dissatisfied with candidates, or are disinterested in politics in general, so they choose to not participate in the political process.

How has voting changed since the founding of our country?
At the start of America, voting was a privilege only available to white property-owning males, but our country has come a long way in representation since then. With the addition of the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments, our voting population has expanded to include African Americans, women, and 18 to 21-year-olds.

What factors affect and help predict voting behavior?
Various geographical areas of the United States tend to lean towards a political party when voting, but several swing states are also the focuses of attention and resources of political candidates in order to gain valuable electoral votes. Media coverage of the election can also influence people’s votes by benefiting or harming a candidate’s likelihood of obtaining the majority of electoral votes, and demographics always play a role in predicting voting behavior due to consistent trends.

How do characteristics of likely voters influence their voting turnout?
Trends demonstrate that higher education levels, income levels, and age increase Americans’ chances of voting and are thus often indicators of voting behavior. It is also seen that white Americans vote at a higher rate than African Americans, but African Americans with the same education and income level as white voters actually have a higher voting rate.

Why do some people choose other methods of political participation instead of voting?
Because some people feel that their votes aren’t significant to the political process, they partake in other activities in which their actions would closer affect elected officials than voting would. Running for office is an option for those who want to take matters into their own hands while campaigning for or giving money to are ways to directly support a candidate. To magnify their voices, people can participate in protests or rallies or join an interest group focused on a specific type of issue. In other words, there are various ways to be active in the political scheme other than just voting.

Other questions:
- Why does America not implement similar policies like those of other industrialized nations to increase voter turnout rate?
- Do more people participate in politics through the previously mentioned various ways than voting?

You know you love us. Xoxo, Government Girls.
(Amanda Hinh)

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