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Registering to vote is not difficult, but studies have been shown that the easier it is to register to vote, the higher the turnout in actual voting. Voter turnout Only about 52% of Americans vote in presidential elections. When you get down to congressional elections, it’s about 30%. Local elections are about 15%. If half your people aren’t voting, then clearly elections aren’t perfectly translating public opinion. Money. People with more money have more influence on elections because they can make campaign contributions, take out ads on TV, etc and have a larger voice than average citizens. At the congressional level, it’s a winner take all system. It doesn’t matter how many votes you get, as long as you get the most votes, then you get the seat in the HOR or the senate. It only takes one vote extra than the other candidates. There’s something called an incompantsy advantage. Incompants, people who have already been elected, have a radically higher chance of being reelected than a challenger running against them. 90% of members of the HOR that run for reelection are reelected. The turnover that we get in congress in the HOR is mostly from retirements or people leaving and then the seat is open. In the senate, it’s about 80% reelection. Location is another. Polling stations are not always stationed in places that make it easy for people to vote. There are also huge lines at the polls because there aren’t enough polling stations. Sometimes the poll workers come out to the line and make a cutoff in the line of who can vote. The rest go home. Polling places also don’t have enough ballots because they printthe amount of ballots for the amount of people who voted last time.
Thursday, February 27We need to start by defining what political parties are. A political party is an organizationof people with shared ideas about government, politics, and policy that tries to gain control of the government by nominating and running people for elected office. What do political parties do? They recruit and nominate candidates for office, run campaigns and elections, organize and mobilize voters to participate in elections, they raise money, and they do public education around political issues that they support. Onceelected, political parties organize and operate the government. The US has, comparatively with other countries, a very weak party system. In fact, it’s one of the weakest party systems of the major democracies in the world. Why does it have a weak party system? The reason is there is not one party. Parties are divided. We’re going to use the example of the democratic party. So, there’s what’s called a party in the white house, and let’s say the president is a democrat. The president gets elected on their own. Their political party has very little to do with how they get elected.