Are you a registered voter? You might expect a high rate of voting in the United States. A lot of people women, African Americans, and the poor fought for the right to vote; certainly their descendents would want to exercise their right to vote. I want to discuss with you today the importance of voting. There are three important aspects of voting. The first aspect is the group of people that fail to vote, the second is why there is such a low turnout, and finally is the voters attitude.
Voting should be a sacred right held by each American citizen. In fact, the voting turnout in the United States is remarkably low. A few years ago, over 100 countries were ranked on turnout; Americans were ranked twelfth from the bottom.
Suffrage in the United States has been a long battle to extend the right to vote from a small group of property-owning white males to virtually all persons over the age of eighteen. Therefore you would think all of us would go out and exercise our right to vote. It is a privilege that was fought for by our fore fathers.
We could at least do our part to uphold the right to vote.
The first aspect of voting is the group of people that fail to vote. According to Gergen in the 1990, U.S. News & World Report, it is said that the two important nonvoting factors in nonvoting are education and income. The Education increases ones capacity for understanding complex and intangible subjects such as politics, as well as encouraging the ethic of civic responsibility.
Income is a significant factor, a large number of Americans are poor, and even a larger number havent gone beyond a high school level. Therefore, income is a basic factor in the turnout and education only a reinforcing factor.
According to the online Internet website in 1996, Voting Statistics- West Virginia Party Registration, the older we are the more likely we are to vote. Persons eighteen to twenty-four have a poor voting record. Also the longer we have lived in one area the more likely we are to vote. Based on general election figures in WV registration has dropped from 1,084,451 in 1976 to 970,745 in 1996.
The second aspect of voting is why there is such a low turnout. According to OConner & Sabato in the 1995, American government: Roots and reform, there is no getting around the fact that the United States has the lowest voter participation rate of any nation in the industrialized world, and it has declined somewhat. Only about half the eligible voters voted in the 1988 general presidential election and 55 percent in 1992, compared with 62 percent in 1960. In contrast, turnout for the British postwar elections has fluctuated between 72 and 84 percent.
There are a number of reasons for low voting turnouts in the U.S.
First, unlike the United States some nations have compulsory voting laws; not surprising they only enjoy voter turnout rates in excess of 95 percent. In some nations citizens pay a tax if they do not vote. Second, many nations automatically register all of their citizens to vote. In the United States, however, citizens must jump the extra hurdle of voter registration.
Finally, the third aspect of voting is the voters attitude. According to Malchow in the 1998, Campaigns & Elections, alienation afflicts some voters and others are just apathetic.
Many citizens may be turned off by the quality of campaigns in a time when petty issues and personal mudslinging are more prevalent than ever. Again attitudes of voters can play a significant role of voter participation. Some ideas for increase in voter turnout are just not practical for example holding fewer elections sounds very appealing, but it is hard to do this without vanishing separation of powers that the Founders believed essential to protection of liberty.
In conclusion the number of ways to increase voter turnout in the United States varies from person to person. This is an issue that needs to be solved. So, in recapping my points you should be aware if you fit into the group of people that fail to vote, you also must remember why the United States is ranked .