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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Your Vote Counts More Than You Think

For many of us it may seem as if  the Electoral College stands in the waYour-Voice-Your-Votey of Democracy, and some may say the Electoral College is the only “thing” that decides the results of the elections. But it really doesn’t work that way. For example, in 52 of 56 elections, the popular vote was key to elect the President of the United States.  In two of those cases, the President was elected by another branch of the government. For instance, John Quincy Adams was elected by Congress and George W. Bush was elected by the Supreme Court, who obstructed the 100% counting of the popular vote, which Bush did lose to Gore.  

For many voters it may be demoralizing when this happens, but it only happened a few times in history. And we are aware that the Electoral College only decides the positions of the president and the vice president. The popular vote directly elects officials who have positions that have a direct impact on us— the voters. These positions include a community representative, who would elect the district’s representative to the state legislature, who would elect the district’s Member of Congress, who would in turn elect the president and the vice president. 

It is often said that if those who voted for President also voted in the off years (for congressmen and congresswoman), we wouldn’t have the same inactive Congress we have today.  The voter apathy we have been seeing, hitting a 20 year low, has far more to do with the detachment between Washington and popular voice, than the Electoral College could ever have. 

So… does your vote matter? Yes, it does! It gives the Electoral College a concrete and solid idea of who the people want as their next president. Although the final decision is up to them, one should keep practicing the right to vote for local, state, and general elections.

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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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Democratic public attitudes and political participation

This short paragraph will explain certain facts that shape the American electoral system by providing data obtained using a combination of aggregate and comparative survey data.

According to Powell, despite the relatively favorable citizen attitudes, voter turnout in American national elections is far below the average of 80% of the eligible electorate that votes in other industrialized nations. Surprisingly another fact indicates that the United States overpasses any other democratic nation in political awareness within its citizens.

How is a nation who is politically aware not interested in voting? The institutional context by which individuals act such as legal rules, social and political structures and configuration of partisanship all shape and have a big effect on an individual’s choices, making it hard for an individual to change his/her beliefs.

The United states is advantaged about 5% by political attitudes, but disadvantaged 13% by the party system and institutional factors.l and up to 14% by the registration laws. 

Powell, G. American Voter Turnout in Comparative Perspective. The American Political Science Review, 80(1), 17-43. doi:10.2307/1957082

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