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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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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Voting in Numbers!

When going out to vote, make it an event! Go out to vote with your friends and family to your nearest polling place. Voting with your peers can make for a greater overall experience. Also making you feel less afraid if its your first time at the polls and even make you feel more confident in your choices! Also don’t be afraid to invite classmates/work mates with you as well! Spreading the word can do nothing but benefit you and your community. The more the better!636125711018421252-1880376367_23-friends-cover-story-lede.w1200.h630

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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