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Thread: Many reasons why Americans don't like to vote

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Question Many reasons why Americans don't like to vote

    If you're an American who is not planning to vote Nov. 7, join the crowd. In the past few decades, less than 40 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. have bothered to cast ballots in midterm elections.

    Your forebears would be ashamed. In late-19th-century midterm elections, turnout ranged from 65 percent to 78 percent. For presidential elections, almost 80 percent of the nation's eligible, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, voted. In 1888, 10 states had turnouts of more than 90 percent. Eight years later, Indiana voters set a record with 97 percent casting ballots.

    Then, in the early 20th century, turnout began falling precipitously. By 1920, less than half of the voting-age population made it to the polls on Election Day. "The drop in voting was nationwide, substantial and cumulative," wrote Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, author of "Why America Stopped Voting." It was also unprecedented, both in America and other Western democracies. Americans, it seemed, no longer prized their right to vote.

    But the new nonvoters were only partly to blame for their disengagement. A century ago, a raft of new state laws, supported by leaders across the political spectrum from conservatives to progressives, transformed the idea and act of voting so radically that hundreds of thousands of people dropped out of the political system. Many of them, and their children, would never return.

    A 19th-century man (in most states, women weren't enfranchised until 1920) could decide to vote on the spur of the moment, pick up a simple ballot from party headquarters and drop it at the poll on Election Day, where his like-minded neighbors would give him a cheer and perhaps a beer. No preregistration was required, no taxes, no proof of residency, literacy or even citizenship. If, like most people then, he was a party man, his vote might earn him a reward, a small cash gift or even better, a job with the post office.

    Election day was rowdy and festive, a thrilling climax to a political campaign that featured bonfires, barbecues, parades, torchlight rallies and passionate oratory. Politics were social and recreational at a time when there wasn't much other public entertainment. More than 20 percent of people were actively involved in campaigning. "Political matters were not complex, intangible and remote, but simple, concrete and directly related to the concerns of daily life," wrote Paul Kleppner in his 1982 book, "Who Voted?"

    Newspapers covered little besides politics. The races were often close, the presidency changed hands in every election between 1876 and 1896, and the differences between the two parties seemed enormous. People wore their allegiances proudly. "We love our parties as we love our churches and our families," said a New Hampshire senator in 1885.

    But many people thought the political parties, which basically ran the elections, were too powerful and corrupt, that the government should administer elections, and ballots should be secret so party leaders couldn't monitor their flocks' choices. Party symbols, like the elephant and donkey, would no longer appear on ballots, creating a de facto literacy test. The practice of rewarding loyal voters with cash on Election Day was widely outlawed. Competitive exams replaced patronage in awarding government jobs.

    And citizens would no longer be able to depend on their party officials to vouch for their eligibility. Voters would have to register themselves in person, well ahead of the election, usually during working hours. Some states even required voters to register every year. Preregistration "increased the costs of participation to the individual and priced out of the system ... marginally involved citizens," noted Mr. Kleppner. After a registration law was passed, for example, the number of voters in Philadelphia dropped from about 385,000 to about 251,000.

    Victor Rosewater, a Republican politician, wrote in 1928, "Much of the seeming lethargy" among voters "is chargeable to the hurdles which, by our registration laws, we put in the way of voting _ absurd laws that make it hard to vote instead of facilitating voting."

    Other broad social trends also damped the electoral spirit. Americans were leaving their small towns, where social ties often reinforced their political biases. Candidates for office began using radio, rather than rallies, to spread their messages, making voters more passive. With the proliferation of other recreational activities, spectator sports, vaudeville, movies, Americans no longer "needed to look to politics for escape," Mr. Kornbluh said. And when women began voting in national elections, they voted at a lower rate than men.

    Many scholars believe that lower voter turnout was an unintended consequence of much-needed electoral reform. Others think it was calculated. "A primary cause of the decline in turnout at the turn of the century was deliberate disenfranchisement," wrote Michael J. Avey in his 1989 study, "The Demobilization of American Voters." "Changes in election laws were clearly focused on particular segments that the political elites wanted out of the political process."

    Mr. Kleppner came to a similar conclusion. The goal of election reform was to make it difficult for some citizens to vote. "That objective was cloaked in culturally acceptable rhetoric, emphasizing electoral 'purity' and, above all, progress."
    http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articleA...rnotvoting.php

    So the question remains why they don't make easier and remove the bureaucracy.

  2. #2
    Bronze Member bionicblond's Avatar
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    No, the real question is why do we still have an electoral college? Most people in this day and age are aware of what is going on and do not need such an oversight, but yet it is still there ever present affecting future and certainly past elections. This body does what it wants despite what the constituents vote for. So, what is the point of voting? I vote every chance I get, however, what difference does it make when the electoral college decides who becomes president and not the citizens....
    Knowledge indeed is power;
    Wisdom is knowing whether or not to act on Knowledge.

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    silver,but silence is golden.....
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    Member jan's Avatar
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    If peep are too dumb to figure out how to register or how to vote then they should not be voting. It is the ignorant voter that is electing the dimwhits like Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) Voting is not a right in the constitution. In the old days only property owners voted at all. Reason: Property owners are usually productive members of society who have a stake in making informed desicions. Now we have a bunch of moonbats voting dingbats into congress whos only clue about the candidate is a soundbite they saw on TV 2 or 3 days before the election. Our govt schools today are turning out illiterate peep left and right now that cant even read their own diplomas. Thank goodness some of them do stay home and not vote.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan View Post
    If peep are too dumb to figure out how to register or how to vote then they should not be voting. It is the ignorant voter that is electing the dimwhits like Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) Voting is not a right in the constitution. In the old days only property owners voted at all. Reason: Property owners are usually productive members of society who have a stake in making informed desicions. Now we have a bunch of moonbats voting dingbats into congress whos only clue about the candidate is a soundbite they saw on TV 2 or 3 days before the election. Our govt schools today are turning out illiterate peep left and right now that cant even read their own diplomas. Thank goodness some of them do stay home and not vote.
    Voting should be a requirement for all, even dimwits. Think about how many people have died to preserve democracy. To give it up so readily and piss it off like something that's not worth the time or effort is deplorable and revolting. Only through suffrage can a person really appreciate and encompass democracy.

    The constitution states:

    Amendment XV
    Section 1: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

    Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
    By making voting less accessible we have in actuality denied some people the right to vote.

    It took me 3 months to apply, get registered, and receive my absentee ballot via mail. That's too long in my opinion. I had to sign an affidavit stating that I had the right to vote and written in the ballot material in bright red was the statement to the effect "Any unlawful attempt to vote will result in a maximum $25,000 fine and up to 6 years imprisonment".... When did voting become a crime? (I know they want to prevent fraud, but skeptics abound in the US and to write things like that in a ballot package is a bit much)

    I think voting should be done over the internet, at ATM machines, in casinos, at theme parks, any where people can go I think voting should be allowed. Why do we have more places for pole dancers and strippers than we do have for voting?

    Why do we have "designated" voting stations. Many of these are held at schools and libraries. (Have you been to a library recently? Very few people apart from elderly and school children, and the occasional wacko go to libraries)... why not have voting stations at places people must go, like gas stations, supermarkets, and so on?

    As for idiots voting, I agree informed voting is the most ideal situation, but even morons should have the right to cast a ballot and vote. If it were up to me I would make it illegal NOT to vote. I believe several Oceania countries do this. And voting there is at around 98-99%. That is true democracy.

    The electoral college is a joke. It should be removed from the presidential voting scheme and instead a popular direct vote used instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jan View Post
    If peep are too dumb to figure out how to register or how to vote then they should not be voting.
    I think you'll find that if 'peep' are 'too dumb to figure out how to register or how to vote' then logic dictates that they won't be voting.
    It is the ignorant voter that is electing the dimwhits like Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.)
    But, presumably, you think it's the intelligent voter that is electing the intellectual giants like George Bush:
    "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."
    "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."
    "They misunderestimated me."
    "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?"
    In the old days only property owners voted at all. Reason: Property owners are usually productive members of society who have a stake in making informed desicions.
    Ah, those were the days. Them nasty black-skinned fellas didn't even know what voting was.
    Now we have a bunch of moonbats voting dingbats into congress whos only clue about the candidate is a soundbite they saw on TV 2 or 3 days before the election.
    Yep, that would explain how the Republicans won the last election. I blame FoxNews.
    Our govt schools today are turning out illiterate peep left and right now that cant even read their own diplomas. Thank goodness some of them do stay home and not vote.
    I don't indulge in spelling flames, Jan, but I'd be wary of criticising 'illiterate peep' if I didn't know how to spell the word "decisions" (see above).

  6. #6
    Bronze Member bionicblond's Avatar
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    @BB, you have a good point that if voting were perhaps made mandatory and if you did not vote you would not be able to partake in certain rights or worse yet be taxed, that might increase turnout tremendously. And at least for the first couple of years increase US income.... I really think the age restriction laws as to whom can be elected should be changed, if you are old enough to go to war, then you should be old enough to be elected in office, any office. I think that we need folks that are not aware of how the lobbying system works in order to lessen their power. You know people still young enough to believe in ideals instead of their own pocketbook This is why this country is crumbling. Everyone is holding back technology and the like trying to milk every last dollar out of the present consumer and it is preventing us from moving on to the next innovative age.
    Knowledge indeed is power;
    Wisdom is knowing whether or not to act on Knowledge.

    Speech is
    silver,but silence is golden.....
    Blondie

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