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Subject: Why is voter turnout so low? rss

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Grand Admiral Thrawn
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As a poll worker yesterday, I'm still surprised that turnout is always so low. It was a local election, so 20% turnout of those registered in my district. General Presidential Election years are about 60% turnout. And the amount registered itself is already nowhere near 100% of the adult population. What do you think is the main cause of this?

I hope to also hear some non-US opinions on voter turnout and how it compares to your country.
 
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Jon Badolato
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I voted, but in general I think people are fed up with the process. In just a few generations the country has gone from having a strong middle class which ultimately had enough sway that they could pressure their representatives to see things their way and enact legislation they wanted passed, to one in which an almost oligarchical 1 % can pretty much buy their representative's votes and not have to worry about middle class influence in any way. Money talks, and we've made the system completely dependent on money.
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Corey Hopkins
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http://www.sanders.senate.gov/democracyday
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If he doesn't start making some headway with potential primary voters, he'll just be clapping along with the delegates when the nominee is announced.

 
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All politics are immersed in corruption in the context of a monetary system. Please investigate a resource based economy.
 
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R and D differ only in insignificant minutiae which they and the media insist are all important.
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Mac Mcleod
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einsteinidahosu wrote:
As a poll worker yesterday, I'm still surprised that turnout is always so low. It was a local election, so 20% turnout of those registered in my district. General Presidential Election years are about 60% turnout. And the amount registered itself is already nowhere near 100% of the adult population. What do you think is the main cause of this?

I hope to also hear some non-US opinions on voter turnout and how it compares to your country.


I voted early so I wasn't there on the main day.
 
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whac3 wrote:
R and R differ only in insignificant minutiae which they and the media insist are all important.


I assume you mean R & D, and I wholly agree. We're virtually in a one party system.
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Koldfoot wrote:


And you would be wrong.

Would it surprise you to learn 60+% of black people showed up to vote in the last 2 elections?

The point being people show up to vote when they have a candidate that excites them.

In your hypothetical match up Hillary may drive the numbers down, but if Trump can keep being exciting he will more than offset her negatives.

Still, it will be Jeb v Hil. Expect record Low turnout.


Yeah, Obama was the first Black president... I can't think of any demographic Hillary belongs to that has never seen the presidency before.... nope... nothing comes to mind.

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Jorge Montero
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People don't vote because the costs of going to vote are larger than the gains.

A winner takes all system, like the one in the US, along with relatively good polls, already cuts a lot of the gains right away: There's many areas where no matter how good the get out the vote machine could get, actual gains would be tiny.

In comparison, the costs of waiting in line to vote on a weekday are very measurable, and that's if we don't take into account the costs of having an informed opinion.

So people don't vote because, for them, it's not a value creating activity: the way it's set up, is not something they want to do.
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Andre
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Apathy of the voter usually means one thing...they feel powerless and disenfranchised. I come from a state with few electoral college votes. The potential presidents in the past have visited the state once in their campaign stops typically, prior to the election. The events were not "public", they were pay-per-plate affairs that were basically calls for money from the rich who could afford the plate fee. There was no link to the common Joe, and the State has predominantly swung one way historically, in favor of one party. If you're a member of the other party, your vote is, for the most part, inconsequential, and meaningless, other than to say you did your civic duty and voted. I am sure many Americans are in a similar situation...is there any wonder, why there is apathy about voting?
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Boaty McBoatface
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I agree that is is a sense that it dos not matter. That is why (historically and currently voter turnout had not been over 50%, most people do not benefit from the system one way or the other. As long as politics remains about people who have then those who do not have will not bother.

It does not matter who you vote for Murdoch will still be toadied to. It does not matter who you vote for the rich will still finds ways to pay no tax. It does not matter who you vote for business will always come before people.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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Koldfoot wrote:
Hmmmm. Vote on a Tuesday during working hours.

The only worse time would be a Saturday in the summer.


This is a major contributor. I can either get up early to go vote before work when things are hectic enough, or I can go directly to the polls from work without stopping to eat dinner or anything else. Then I stand in line with all the people in the same boat.

We do have mail in ballots, but 1, I don't trust them (probably irrational) and 2, I like to be able to change my mind right up to the point where I fill in the circles. If some game changing information comes available the day before the election, I like to be able to react.
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Shawn Fox
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I agree, votes don't really matter. I live in an 80% Republican district, the same person is going to win regardless of who I vote for, so I don't bother. I do plan to vote in the Republican primary this year though.

My take on it is that we need multi member districts with real proportional representation, where ever single vote matters. Every vote received by a candidate results in giving them 1 extra vote in the House. Every candidate that gets at least 10% of the votes in their district gets a seat in the House. The remaining votes would be distributed to other candidates on a proportional basis, or perhaps also include a ranked voting method so if your candidate didn't win your vote would go to the guy who made the threshold with the highest ranking you gave.

The idea in this method is that every vote really does matter, it shows up right there when the member votes in Congress. Your 1 vote is included in their total. Districts with low turnout get punished by having reduced voting power in the House. So either you come out to vote or you forfeit your right to representation.
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Steven Woodcock
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Koldfoot wrote:
Hmmmm. Vote on a Tuesday during working hours.

The only worse time would be a Saturday in the summer.


It was a pretty good time back when the Constitution was written.

I think to change it would require an amendment now.



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Steven Woodcock
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jonb wrote:
Money talks, and we've made the system completely dependent on money.


I think the evidence at best is mixed on that point.

For example, the libs pumped a lot of money into the Houston ordinance on LGBT rights it still lost bigtime. I think it's funny that despite have a lesbian mayor who's been elected 3 times they're now being called a Bigoted Hate City by some on the left.

Money doesn't always win....I argue it mostly doesn't, but that would require a much larger thread.



Ferret

 
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Josh
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Koldfoot wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
einsteinidahosu wrote:
As a poll worker yesterday, I'm still surprised that turnout is always so low. It was a local election, so 20% turnout of those registered in my district. General Presidential Election years are about 60% turnout. And the amount registered itself is already nowhere near 100% of the adult population. What do you think is the main cause of this?


Really crappy candidates.

If, for example, 2016 comes down to Hillary vs. the Donald, I predict historically low voter turnout.


And you would be wrong.

Would it surprise you to learn 60+% of black people showed up to vote in the last 2 elections?

The point being people show up to vote when they have a candidate that excites them.

In your hypothetical match up Hillary may drive the numbers down, but if Trump can keep being exciting he will more than offset her negatives.

Still, it will be Jeb v Hil. Expect record Low turnout.


I agree with Koldie except that Hil would drive numbers down in that matchup.

If we *do* manage to see Donald v Hillary it will be a high turnout though, just so drew is doubley-wrong.

Actually it's because the hate-vote numbers would be so high on both sides.
 
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casey r lowe
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i always vote socialist party usa - provided they get on the ballot

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Boaty McBoatface
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Ferretman wrote:
jonb wrote:
Money talks, and we've made the system completely dependent on money.


I think the evidence at best is mixed on that point.

For example, the libs pumped a lot of money into the Houston ordinance on LGBT rights it still lost bigtime. I think it's funny that despite have a lesbian mayor who's been elected 3 times they're now being called a Bigoted Hate City by some on the left.

Money doesn't always win....I argue it mostly doesn't, but that would require a much larger thread.



Ferret

Because lesbians and transgender people are not the same. You can still be a bigot and not be bigoted against everyone.
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Chad
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einsteinidahosu wrote:
As a poll worker yesterday, I'm still surprised that turnout is always so low. It was a local election, so 20% turnout of those registered in my district. General Presidential Election years are about 60% turnout. And the amount registered itself is already nowhere near 100% of the adult population. What do you think is the main cause of this?

I hope to also hear some non-US opinions on voter turnout and how it compares to your country.


Honestly, the answer is pretty simple, it was an Off-off year election. Meaning

The was no Presidential Election
There was no Senate Seats up for election
The House was not up for election

What you were left with is an occasional governor, school board and a bunch of poorly worded local initiatives (the most exciting thing I got to vote on was

1) Should Colorado refund the Marijuana tax monies (per Tabor) or refund it

2) Should my local library district have a budget bigger than 20 million)

Rightly or wrongly, people don't care about this stuff.
 
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Andre
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The current flaw is in the electoral college system, the idea that states with more population have greater representation is admirable, but it places a greater proportion of candidate "interest" on those states with more population (they go where the money is, and where the electoral college votes are). This means that a candidate can win the popular vote, but lose the election because he does not have the required electoral college votes (case in point Gore v Bush...Gore won the popular vote). Many states historically swing one way (Democrat or Republican), so the victory (in the electoral college) is predetermined. The election boils down to the campaigns in a few large swing states (namely California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania typically). Your vote does not matter if you do not live in one of those states. Not sure why the popular vote is not used to determine elections. Shouldn't the most voted candidate (by the people) win?
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Lee Fisher
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Ferretman wrote:
Koldfoot wrote:
Hmmmm. Vote on a Tuesday during working hours.

The only worse time would be a Saturday in the summer.


It was a pretty good time back when the Constitution was written.

I think to change it would require an amendment now.



Ferret


In 1845? It wouldn't require an amendment to anything. Anyway most states are already doing it.
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Steven Woodcock
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Koldfoot wrote:


It's all about money. Jeb is too bought off to quit. He has enough money to make it to the end. He will be at the convention as an in-the-race, last few standing candidate.


That's possible of course, but maybe not. If he bails he'll get to keep most of that money, and have ~$100M in the bank for trying -- that's not a bad haul.



Ferret
 
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Steven Woodcock
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maxo-texas wrote:
einsteinidahosu wrote:
As a poll worker yesterday, I'm still surprised that turnout is always so low. It was a local election, so 20% turnout of those registered in my district. General Presidential Election years are about 60% turnout. And the amount registered itself is already nowhere near 100% of the adult population. What do you think is the main cause of this?

I hope to also hear some non-US opinions on voter turnout and how it compares to your country.


I voted early so I wasn't there on the main day.


This is what I do...vote by mail and verify it thru the process until it's marked as "counted".


Ferret
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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How far do you people live from a polling station, I have never lived more than a 10 minutes walk from one?
 
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