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Does Voter Turnout Matter?

Why do so many voters refuse to vote?

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The number of registered voters who actually cast votes in elections is called voter turnout. The 2020 presidential election saw record-high voter numbers.

What Affects Voter Turnout?

Many factors play a role in either increasing or decreasing voter turnout. The weather on Election Day, the number of places to vote, and how easy or hard it is to register to vote all affect voter turnout.

Often, older, wealthier, and better educated people have the highest voter turnout. They usually have more time to vote and are more likely to feel like the issues affect them directly than younger, less educated people.

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Voting is the main way that ordinary citizens can help decide how the government is run. However, a large portion of Americans simply choose not to vote. In the last 40 years of presidential elections, the turnout rate for eligible voters in the United States has never been higher than 60%.

Why do people refuse to vote? Sometimes they just don’t like the available options. Rather than feeling like they’re choosing the lesser of two evils, many just don’t vote at all. That’s called voter apathy. Other people feel that, with so many people voting, their vote doesn’t count and so it isn’t worth the effort. Some people who don’t think voting is worth the effort just don’t think government policies affect them directly. Others believe that the government is so corrupt it doesn’t matter who wins.

Lack of voter turnout in the country has prompted many Americans to question why voting is not mandatory or why Election Day isn’t a federal holiday, as in many other nations worldwide. But would forcing people to vote solve the problems that actually cause low voter turnout? For that matter, does the Constitution allow it?

Jose Backer, General Assignment Reporter, is a graduate of St. Michael's College and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Political Science. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in the Pasadena area.

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