Voter turnout is seen as critically important for elections, but what influences people’s decision to go out and vote? The 2020 presidential election saw record-high voter numbers. Turnout for both registration and actual voting was very high, partly due to the adoption of widespread mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main point of presidential campaigns is to encourage Americans to vote for each candidate. High voter turnout means that many eligible voters exercised their right to vote in an election. Lower voter turnout is the opposite, where the number of voters is low.
What Affects Voter Turnout?
Younger people with low socioeconomic status and a lack of education, especially living in states where it is more challenging to register and vote, are believed to have the lowest turnout rate. In contrast, older, wealthy, and educated voters appear to have the highest rates of turnout. Older voters typically have more time, are more likely to be affected by policies to do with Social Security and Medicare, and more often belong to social circles that discuss politics and voting than younger groups. Florida, which has a significant number of retired seniors living in the state, is in the upper end of voter turnout compared to other states, even though they request photo ID, which many argue lowers voter turnout.
To Vote or Not to Vote?
The right to vote is often called one of the greatest rights of Americans – the core way that ordinary citizens can help decide how the government is run. Many voters are against the idea of their fellow citizens not exercising their right to have a say in our government. 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 reached above 60%.
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. Some countries have boosted voter turnout by making voting compulsory. Countries like Australia, Singapore, Peru, and others have passed voting laws that threaten fines or punishment if their citizens do not vote. Would this tactic be successful in America – or would it fail to address the key reasons why so many choose not to vote? For that matter, would the Constitution allow it?