Until Next Time

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During the last 4 weeks, the Voter Watch Blog team researched and wrote about the reasons and outcomes of voter apathy, voter turnout, and the accessibility to the polls. We also wrote about the Electoral College, the importance of popular vote, and how voter ID laws affect us. We decided to touch on those important topics because we felt those are the ones that have been specially under fire during the last 5 elections. 

With the usage of facts and a neutral stand point on the political spectrum, we hope we have been able to inform and motivate you– the voter. We hope you found our blogs posts not only informative, but also inspiring.

We would like to thank every single one of your for giving us a few minutes of your time to read our weekly posts. Also, we would like to thank you for reading our points of view and other information that might have been in conflict with your personal believes and ideas. We thank you for your open mind and for your time.

Sincerely,

The Voter Watch Blog

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How Voter ID Laws Affect Democracy

Voter ID laws are damaging the decades of progress that have
Voter-ID-Nick-Anderson been made on our democracy and voting rights in the U.S. Up to this date, 33 states require some type of ID in order to vote, and 7 out of those 33 states have strict photo ID laws. Some outcomes of these laws are; voters are deprived of their right to vote, they reduce voter turnout, and they go against the fundamental ideas of a democratic process. Not surprisingly the voters that are affected by ID laws are  racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, people with disabilities, and low-income citizens. Such voters usually have a hard time getting IDs, because they cannot afford or cannot get the documents they need to get an ID.

It is known that 11% of U.S. citizens (more than 21 million Americans) do not have an ID and getting and ID costs money. Even if IDs were offered for free, people have to pay for other documents such as birth certificates, transportation, time off work, etc.  Another fact about ID laws is that it reduce turnout by 2-3 percentage points, which means thousands of lost votes.

On the other hand, up to 25% of African Americans do not have an ID, compared to the 8% of whites. And minority voters are more likely to be asked for ID than are white voters. Also it is know that Voter ID laws reduce turnout among minority voters. According to a Washington Post study, ID laws have a negative effect on turnout among minorities.

“In general elections in non-strict states, for instance, the gap between white and Latino turnout is on average 4.9 points.But in states with strict ID laws, that gap grows to a substantial 13.2 points. The gap between white turnout and Asian American and African American turnout also increases”

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According to a study done by the University of California these laws come with political consequences. Since minorities tend to vote Democratic, states with ID laws are more likely to get a higher Republican turnout.

“All else equal, when strict ID laws are instituted, the turnout gap between Republicans and Democrats in primary contests more than doubles from 4.3 points to 9.8 points”

Such laws seem to be gaining momentum and more states are passing such laws. Even if the voter ID laws are somehow funded by the states, some people will inevitably face obstacles in the process of getting the required documents they need to get their IDs. Due to this obstacles and others, many Americans may be discouraged from voting just because they wont have the proper ID or just cannot get the proper ID.

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Fortunately there are non profits and state run organizations ready to help you. For example, VoteRiders is the only organization that focuses exclusively on voter ID. They help low income people, minorities, and everyone in need of help to get an ID and get you to the polls!

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Popular Vote it is!

Several democratic nations around the world have adopted some type of electoral system. The purpose of an electoral system is to calculate the number of votes at the end of an election in order to choose positions in a particular government.

There are several electoral systems used around the globe; in the United States for example, the electoral system used is called the Electoral College. The Electoral College is made up of “electors” (members of different parties), the number of electors a state has is determined by a census. (The 2012, 2016 and 2020 elections are and will be based on the 2010 census*)

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The number of people a state has determines the number of electors representing a certain state in congress (House and Senate). So, in other words we can say that, the more people a state has, the more electors or electoral votes it represents in the Electoral College. (In order to win an election a candidate must accumulate a majority of 270 electoral votes*)

The 2016 presidential election made many who are against the results challenge the old but current electoral system. For many the Electoral College is decrepit and inefficient for modern times. Even though not many countries follow the popular vote, some follow a similar type of popular vote called the Two-round system, as the title explains it, the two round system is made up of 2 rounds of popular votes, during the first round the candidates with the lowest percentage are eliminated and all remaining candidates stand for the second round and the candidate with the highest percentage wins.

According to the The Huffington Post a popular voting system or/and a two-round system would make many people who live in states with a low and high concentrated population feel like their voice matters!

Election Night! Wait who Won???

The SNL you are about to watch  is a clip using satire to describe how people were during election night all the way up to the final results. People forget how others think and lie to themselves in the process. The night Trump was elected president of the United States the country was in shock. Some people expected the results and others were “shocked” at what happened. Now just realizing the injustices that can occur in the United States.

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Voter Apathy: One Giant Leap From Democracy

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For a country of the people, by the people, and for the people, the United States has a problem with getting the people to vote. In a PEW Research study conducted last August, the United States ranked 31st out of 35 countries in voter turnout. Although, according to Daily Dot, voter turnout was higher in the 2016 election than in 2012, with 59.7% of Americans going to the polls compared to 58.6% in 2012. This past November, 40.3% of eligible voters opted out of the process. That’s hardly an increase to write home about.

One of the most troubling causes for a low voter turnout is voter apathy. Voter apathy has best been seen during the midterm elections when the voter turnout drops faster than a lead zeppelin. Only 36.4% of eligible voters went to the polls in the 2014-midterm elections. The lack of engagement is one of the reasons that a Congress with a 10% approval rating can have a 90% incumbency.

When elected representatives are this widely reviled, but are being voted in because one third of the country cares to vote them in, then society has a problem. A problem where the views of the public aren’t being represented, because they choose not to take the action in order to change the problem, is a willful step away from democracy. This poses a threat to democracy because without an accurate metric of where a citizenry stands on socio political issues politicians cannot, and will sometimes choose not to accurately represent the interests of their constituents.

When the people choose not to go to the polls, they choose not to use their voice. If their voice isn’t represented by a party or by a politician, citizens have the option to write in a vote that represents their political views. Ultimately this right is the difference between choosing your politicians and your politicians choosing for you.

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Voter Apathy Epidemic! Turnout or Turn up?

Voter apathy/voter turnout is a huge problem in the United States. The right to vote is one of the biggest ways to shape the future of your country and many people don’t seem to think weather they vote or not matters. Take the presidential election in 2016 for example. Accordingshutterstock-Trump-vs-Clintong to this article found on Pbs.org, what was thought to never happen ended up happening? Donald Trump was elected president of the United States of America.

After counting Clinton’s popular vote, she trailed Obama’s 2012 run by at least TWO MILLION! The people who supported her either felt that Trump wasn’t going to become a big enough threat so they didn’t bother to turnout or they felt neither candidate was worthy and stayed home.  Both candidates gave voters little to nothing to hope for and a sense of hopelessness as each day more reasons were given as to why both candidates were unfit to become president.

In this past Presidential election several million eligible voters didn’t visit the poles. Due to the concept of the Electoral College not many people believe that what they doesn’t matter and their vote won’t count for anything. With this in mind why should they not think there vote won’t matter? Schools and the government are doing very little to help ensure voters that turning up to vote will actually have a positive effect on the overall outcome. There are not many schools on a middle school, high school, or even some college level that really teach kids the importance of voting and what it can do to help the country you live in.

Pbs.orgFor example at my local school they have voter signup days but give little to no information as to why you should sign up, or the responsibility you have or/and what you can accomplish and change just by filling out a card. Meanwhile, the state and local governments are doing very little to help influence their communities and local young college students to show up at the polls. It’s 2017! We live in the prime of social media and short attention spans. To get people to show up and participate we need to be more interactive with the youth and show them that they play a big part in what makes a country great!dt.common.streams.StreamServer