Explanations for Low Turnout

Explanations for Low Turnout - The Effects of Low Turnout...

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Explanations for Low Turnout Why do Americans vote in small numbers? Political scientists have suggested a number of reasons: Inconvenience: For many, getting to the polling place on election day is very difficult: Many people have to work, and some have trouble getting to their precinct. Registration: All voters must register ahead of the election (sometimes a month or more in advance); the registration process can be confusing and at times difficult to follow. Similarity of the parties: Some citizens believe the parties are very similar, so voting will not make a difference Alienation: People do not vote because they feel that the government does not care about them or listen to their concerns. Frequency of elections: Americans hold elections more frequently than most other democracies; voters find it difficult to vote on so many different days. Lack of competitiveness: Many races in the United States are very lopsided, so voters are likely to stay home, thinking the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
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Unformatted text preview: The Effects of Low Turnout Some people argue that low turnout rewards Republicans because minorities, who tend to vote Democrat, are the least likely to vote. Others argue that election outcomes would be roughly the same even if everyone voted because the preferences of nonvoters are similar to those of voters. The Multiple Meanings of Low Turnout Some scholars and pundits fret over low turnout, convinced that low turnout undermines democracy. Democracy is government by the people, they argue, and when people do not vote, they give up their part of popular sovereignty. Low turnout also reflects a strong sense of alienation among the public, a bad sign for Americas legitimacy. Other scholars argue the opposite. Low turnout is a sign of a healthy democracy because it reflects satisfaction with the government. According to this view, people only vote when they feel threatened or angered about an issue. People who do not vote, then, are content with the status quo....
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