Like that of “Occupy,” today there are infinite options to support certain causes, instead Of just joining one Of the two major parties and vote Republican or Democrat. The amount of third parties and interest groups are at their historical highest. Electoral Absence would be a more politically correct term for what is “Voter Apathy. ” The low voter turn out in American politics isn’t just apathy so it should be described more as electoral absence. Present-day voting obstacles are less obvious than what existed in the past; like poll taxes, literacy tests, residency and citizenship.
A year after the 24th Amendment outlawed poll taxes, the 1 965 Voting Rights Act was passed to enforce the 1 5th Amendment. The 1 5th Amendment grants citizens the right to vote without racial discrimination, but enforcement of this statute was long neglected, like other equalities. The many historical obstacles, designed to isolate the political process for manipulation by upper class white males, produced a ripple effect into the future of American society.
In the past, the predominantly white upper class maintained control of the American political yester, and family is said to have the most influence on political orientation.Race is identified as one of the key determinants of voter turn out, with Caucasian making up most of the pie chart. Whites have the highest tendencies to vote because they are also more likely to be more educated, with better career salary and more reasons to invest their time in politics. It’s not definite, but “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” can be applied to education level and political orientation passed on from parent to child. Political orientation starts forming when a person is born into the world.
The three main long-term influences on political orientation are primary: family, secondary: education system, and third: career path. Besides racial or ethnic backgrounds, other influencing factors include age, education, gender, income, and citizenship. The strongest relationship is correlated between voter participation and socioeconomic status. Statistically and historically measured, the highest positions on socio-economic scale have the best likelihood to participate in the electoral process.The wealthier have more assets or income salary, meaning more personal value to protect from others r the government by getting involved.
Usually different interests in taxes, like income or property, provide for other incentives to voice political opinion. Relative to the latter, the lower class and poverty line are just worried about paying the bills; where political engagement and voter participation doesn’t always provide material incentives. Voter Apathy is prevalent with low income and low education levels.Even the most educated people don’t completely understand the inner workings of the U. S. Government, but they are more likely to be involved in some form of civil activism (Portent). More than ever before, students are enrolling in post-high school education and receiving degrees higher than a high school diploma.
With dramatic increase in overall education level for younger generations, the scholars would assume voter participation also wildernesses with proven statistical correlation.Over 75% of all college graduates voted in the 2008 presidential election compared to levels of 50% for citizens with high school education (Hershey, p. 151). But regardless of education level, the younger generations between ages 18-30 years are the least engaged politically and civilly.
Within that group, less than 50% of young adults under 25 years old voted in the 2008 election compared to over 70% of senior citizens (Hershey). The highest percentages of involvement correlated to age are at the senior citizen level.The older an individual is, determines the amount of exposure to different presidential administrations and other important political issues. More exposure to the political system contributes to better understanding of importance and awareness of the impact of the system on individual lives. Hopefully, for the sake of democracy, political engagement will increase as he population becomes more mature and aware, and as the baby boomers grow into old age. Strangely, the highest rate of voter turnout is at the national election level and decreases by state; then decreases even more by lower local levels.The rational person would think local government policy has the greatest impact on their daily lives, bringing them to more involvement at lower levels of the electoral process.
The ‘Voter apathy’ at the local level stems from overwhelming amount of public officials and the research necessary to understand each candidate is different from the highly publicized presidential election. Mainly the excitement that is portrayed through the multiple media outlets, helps the presidential election attract higher rates of participation at the ballots.Barack Obama being the first African-American President compelled record setting votes castes by minorities. Since Barack is up for re-election, similar voter turnout would be expected. The 2016 Election race will determine if minorities will remain involved even without a colorful elected official. The presidential and vice presidential nominees are first chosen by delegates at the state conventions, here the average voter can have some influence but not directly elect. These convention delegates a largely made up Of well-educated white males over representing the affluent groups of American society.
Then, once nominees are chosen at the conventions, the Electoral College chooses the winner of the presidential elections. The general public is not given full power of direct popular election; example when Bush was chosen to be President in 2000 even though he had less votes than AY Gore. This structure brings “Rational choice theorists … Tit determine] that the chance of any one individual’s vote making a difference to the outcome is extraordinarily slight,” says Martin P. Wattenberg.
Yet, the local level elections allow for a direct popular election with single district plurality where every votes counts and small numbers can swing outcomes. Time and location can also play a role in voter turnout at the local level. To overcome the time frame dilemma, for the working citizen, some states extend poll hours to stay open late at night. The daily life of American citizens is filled with more responsibilities and obligations than ever before, but that doesn’t justify ignoring the civic duty to vote.Only time will tell if the American public will realize the impact of political participation and importance of voting. Almost every other democracy around the world records voter turnout at consistent rates over 80%, compared to the 50% of the United States.
Maybe Americans just take their freedom for granted since they’ve had it for over two centuries. There’s less engagement from politicians with public and the public has less engagement in politics. Once societal tensions and problems surface, the people will seek illusions and one main component would be voter turnout.