Paper 1 - Poli Sci 104 Paper 1 I'd like to be able to...

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Poli. Sci. 104 – Paper 1 I’d like to be able to honestly say that I’m not in the same category as the people that Matthew Robinson and Michael Schudson wrote about in their articles, but the more I read, the more and more I could identify myself with the “ignorant voters” they both spoke so highly of . I don’t think that I could easily list off each candidate’s positions on more than one or two issues, especially if I wasn’t currently enrolled in Political Science 104. Really, in any election but the current election, the probability of me succeeding at some kind of test about any elected officials would be significantly lower. That’s pretty pathetic. I agree with both Robinson and Schudson when they say that it’s ridiculous that most of the people that actually do vote can’t even recognize the names of the incumbents on the ballot. So why is America so “politically unintelligent” nowadays? One of the best points I can bring away from Schudson’s article is his statement about the United States has so many elections, and just as many if not even more elected officials. How is anyone supposed to keep up with it all? There are constantly elections going on around us, whether it’s in your town/city/county/district/state or whatever, there is always something you can vote on. Professor Coleman even spoke about this in one of our lectures, how it’s not really feasible to expect an average voter to know both candidates views on everything. Is it fair then, to assume that people should know more about the elections and candidates than they do? I say maybe. Even though I can understand how it would be frustrating for someone who is truly interested and involved in politics to overhear some “ignorant” voters talking, I don’t think it’s fair to really call them ignorant. Maybe instead of ignorant, we can refer to them as less- knowledgeable, and instead of criticizing, we can try to encourage and inform them. 1
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I think that low voter turnout is not something our county is terribly proud of, so if the government were to place extra restrictions on voting, like some sort of test or questions to make sure that each voter has the same minimum amount of knowledge before heading in to the booth, would not be the most encouraging thing for them to do. Wouldn’t that be similar to the days of the literacy tests and poll taxes that no one benefited from? There are so many things nowadays that discourage people from voting, why would we want to discourage even more people, instead of encourage those that don’t vote? One thing that Professor Coleman spoke about in lecture, as one of the reasons the voter turnout is so low, is the introduction of personal voter registration. People don’t vote because registering to vote themselves is too much of a hassle for them, and if
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Paper 1 - Poli Sci 104 Paper 1 I'd like to be able to...

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