An Educated Vote - To Vote Or Not To Vote Introduction...

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To Vote Or Not To Vote Introduction Literally meaning “rule by the people”, democracy is a word that has become synonymous with the United States of America. Based on the design that the government will satisfy the desires of the people, the United States of America has shaped its history around the process of voting. Through both direct and representative democracy, the United States governing body is one that relies on elections to validate the will of the people. From a large-scale election for appointing a President, to small referendum for specific government policy, a theoretical majority-based vote has served as the tool in which the United States government is both structured and staffed. In theory, through the process of voting, those citizens of eighteen years of age and older have a say in the government in which their daily lives surround. Without examining the legitimacy of this system of democracy, one would assume that a person would provoke their right to vote to the fullest extent considering what is at stake in today’s society. If a person is given the ability to possibly make decisions that concern their lives’, it seems only rational that they would choose to exercise this ability rather than not. Yet in the United States, the use of one’s right to vote is utilized by an unexpectedly small amount of people. Although results range depending on the magnitude and frequency of any particular vote, the general amount of voter turnout is around fifty percent or slightly above. With such a dismal amount of eligible voters invoking their right to democracy, some serious questions arise about the personal decision of an individual to vote or not. The following paper will attempt to answer the question of why do people choose to vote? Through the
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basic elements of the scientific method of analysis, this paper will attempt to answer why the mediocre amount of voters choose to do so while shedding light on why people may not. The paper will begin by examining some history of voting studies by discussing previous voter related theories. It will then continue with the formation of six hypotheses used to explain why people vote. These hypotheses will then be tested and analyzed using real data in an attempt to find a reasonable answer for this imperative question. Literature Review Weighing benefits or reasons for, versus costs or reasons against, is the basis for any decision; therefore it will be in the best interest of this section to consider past research on the benefits and costs of voting as well as other possible reasons people may choose to do so. The majority of research on voting is based around this idea of weighing the costs and benefits of voting as well as with the idea of the affects of this voting.
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