Low Voter Turnout in America


American Government, Period 3


2/23/04


There are many possible reasons why voter turnout in America is so low


compared to other wealthy democracies. Lack of education and political efficacy, civic


competence, laziness, and age are just some of the main reasons for this. Without


education, people don’t understand the government and wouldn’t know what to change


and how to do so. Civic competence is also an important issue, people need to feel that


they are making a difference or they just won’t try anymore. Another significant factor is


age, many young adults believe the issues covered by politicians don’t have anything to


do with them, so why should young adults vote on matters that don’t directly affect them. A final


reason is laziness; a main issue for low voter turnout is that some people are just too lazy


to drive to the polls, stand in line, and vote.


From 1972-1992, less than 55% of high school dropouts voted in the presidential


elections.[1] This shows that people who haven’t gone to school tend to be less involved in


political affairs then those who have. This lack of involvement is from lack of political


efficacy, as many uneducated people don’t understand how the government works.


They may have political ideologies of how it should function and what should change


but in general the unschooled don’t know what the exact problem is or how to fix it. When people


don’t go to school to learn about and understand the way our country is controlled they end up


not knowing how or what to change to their benefit. During elections, the uneducated


may know the two different candidates and what their goals are if they come into


election; but if the people themselves can’t tell what the problem is, how can they vote


for it? This is often the problem with uneducated people. They may understand the


changes they want in the government, but since they aren’t aware of how it functions


they aren’t sure which candidate will best deliver these changes. Education; thus is a


very important issue when it comes to voter turnout. If people don’t know how the


candidates will change the issues the people feel they have, then how will the people vote


for them?


Politicians, usually in their 40’s - 50’s, often target the large amount of the


population who they can connect with, the middle-aged adults. They list the issues that


the adults find as issues and tell of the changes they will make if elected. Young adults;


however, are often left out of the elections since the problems don’t concern them. It’s


simple, the politicians don’t target young adults because they don’t contribute much


money and often don’t show up to elections anyways. This; on the other hand, is only


because young adults have no issues being covered in the elections so they don’t vote on


problems not concerning them. In the elections of 1972-1992, less than 50% of young


adults voted.[2] This could be changed and voter turnout could rise if politicians considered


more of the population, as opposed to just the middle-aged adults. Politicians need to


cover the issues of all generations aiming towards the good of the country. They should


consider all of the concerns of all the people, considering as well those who cannot


vote. Maybe once everyone’s concerns are catered to more people will vote for the issues


concerning them and voter turnout will rise.


Many people are just too lazy to vote or register to vote. They are usually fairly


comfortable with what’s happening and don’t want to spend their time standing in line to


vote. Laziness can also be caused by the public having to participate in too many


elections, acquiring voter fatigue. Lazy voters are usually somewhat uninterested in


elections and politics and there are so many elections that the public looses the


excitement of the presidential vote. Voter fatigue can be helped by reinventing the


excitement of the presidential election, thus a voting holiday should be created. This holiday


will get people off of work and to the polls. Americans are always looking for an excuse


to have fun and eat food, so this holiday will add excitement to voting and get more


people anticipating