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Thoughts and Understanding on the Decline of Voter Participation

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CUNY Baruch

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  1. Introduction
  2. The headache for politicians and political scientists
  3. Predictions of voting behaviors
  4. Other socioeconomic factors in voter participation
  5. Conclusion

It is a common knowledge that the most general type of political behavior is voting. Voting fundamentally represent the idea of Government being enacted by the people for the people. This is the time when a regular John Doe has a power to decide on whom, he thinks is the best to represent him and his country. This decision is not a simple one, whether he is voting for a local region representative, a representative of his state in Congress or a representative of his country who will lead all the people. Voting can be considered not only the most common political behavior but also the most important one. This is the time when an individual is given a power to hear all the platforms presented to him, to analyze all the sides and their ideologies, believes and future goals. After that, he can cast a concrete and educated ballot.

However, if we look at our resent history the voter turnout has been declining steadily for the last 40 years now. If it is common knowledge that voting is amongst the most important of all political behaviors, then why are people taking it so lightly? What are those factors that make people not to cast their ballot?

[...] Choosing between the incompetent president and the candidate who shows no competence, it won't be surprising that most of them will not go to the polls at all. (Time Magazine) I also remember many of my friends agreeing with this idea; and to add that even though I have voted every time, I did not attend the polls for that election. There are other socioeconomic factors that can come in effect of voter participation. Factors like detachment from social activities, in the light of invention of television. [...]

[...] Sociologists, politicians, and political scientists have been studying these factors in hopes to find an efficient solutions or at least the answer to some of the questions. After conducting surveys and numerous polls, some of the general trends started to emerge. It is hard to distinguish why some people did not vote in the past elections if the turnout of the country if high. Some European societies have about 90% of voter turnout. Also, according to International Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) of the 20 of top countries on voter turnout 7 are European. ( [...]

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