Examining Low Young Voter Turnout Essay

1408 words - 6 pages

One of our most, and many would argue, the most valuable rights as citizens of a democracy is our right to vote. It gives us a voice in the direction our elected representatives steer our country. Unfortunately, historically young voters are underrepresented due to their low voting turnout. This came as a shock to me being a young voter myself. Growing up in California I was excited about getting the chance to vote, to have a voice as it were. However, this is clearly not the case for all potential young voters.
The Problem
Young voter turnout has historically been disproportionately lower than all other voting groups. In California alone, as indicated in the California Civic Engagement Project, conducted by UC Davis during the 2012 elections only 50.9% of registered voters aged 18-24 and 55.5% of registered voters aged 25-34 voted, as opposed to 67.9% - 84.55% for all other older age groups. Another problem, is these numbers also indicate a 10% reduced voter turnout from the 2008 elections, despite an increase in voter registration of 14% over the 2008 elections (Romero).
So we’ve established disproportionately lower young voter turnout, why is this a problem? Well let’s start by examining the Oxford Dictionary definition of democracy: “A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives” (Oxford Dictionaries). Ideally these elected representatives are elected to represent the interests of their constituency’s. These constituencies consist of people from all different walks of life and of various ages, including young voters, all forming a melting pot of interests. When considering elections and making legislative decisions our representative’s take into account this whole population of voters. After all, what incentive do our representatives have to legislate the interests of those that don’t vote? Furthermore, that’s assuming that our representatives are even aware of our interests. When we don’t vote we aren’t making our interests known and that’s really the key part of the problem. With young voter turnout being disproportionately lower, the impact we have on our government policy’s also disproportionate, or as world renowned Political Scientist Dr. Arend Lijphart puts it “unequal participation means unequal influence.” (Lijphart).
The Causes
The three main factors effecting young voter turnout are: Civic Education, Political Polarization, and Voter Registration.
Civic Education
Civic Education’s important because it helps familiarize young people with our electoral and government processes, as noted in The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement study.
Some of the existing strategies for civic education are strongly supported by research and deserve to be maintained and expanded. For instance, teaching young people explicitly about politics and
elections is related to higher levels of political knowledge;
thus schools should be...

Find Another Essay On Examining Low Young Voter Turnout

California: The Dividing Issue Of Illegal Immigration

1995 words - 8 pages campaign spending, candidate campaign appearances, and more competitive campaigns stimulate voter turnout while negative campaign advertisements depress voter turnout. These studies show that by making information more interesting, campaigns are capable of affecting the voter turnout."Nonvoters are increasingly low-income, young and less educated" (Guinier). The largest determinant in whether or not a person votes is their level of education. The

What Factors Affect Voter Turnout and Election Results

1080 words - 4 pages for America's youth, turnout for the youngest age bracket was consistently the lowest of the population. this low voting rate was attributed to a general lack of feeling of responsibility. As young adults age, marry, and become parents, their sense of community and responsibility increases, while their apathy toward voting decreases, (Abramson 116). Another reason for low voter turnout numbers for 18 to 24-year-olds is their generally low levels of

Mimes of America

867 words - 4 pages the United States, the basic freedoms for voting are often taken for granted and unutilized by many Americans, especially Texans. Despite the large size of Texas, the historic background of voting and other factors have caused the state to experience low voter turnout. Voter turnout, according to the text, “. . .means the portion of the eligible citizens who actually cast ballots--not the portion of those registered, . . . (142).” Data reveals

How Far Do We Go To Increase Voter turnout?

1018 words - 4 pages issues of the candidates and what they could do to help us as a society, rather than us help ourselves due to our greed for money.How harmful is low voter turnout? Chapter 5 in The Democratic Debate [pg.123] tells us that "Voter turnout in the United States is something to worry about, because thekind of people who don't vote are often those who have the fewest economic and educational resources to assert themselves in political struggles

The Decrease in Voter Turnout

1441 words - 6 pages participation among the young generation. For many youngsters, the efficacy of voting is also questionable. They think that voting is inadequate for bringing about change in the community, and like more activist approaches, if they're concerned about the wellbeing of the community. Another factor of low voter turnout is voter registration. The method of elector registration could be a major obstacle of voting. A person who is voting for the first time in a

Voter Turnout

1603 words - 6 pages .); and rational (e.g., citizens perceive the costs of voting outweigh the benefits, citizen's perceive little difference in candidates and thus no point in voting, etc.) (Ragsdale & Rusk, 1993; Niemi & Wiesberg, 1993; Rosenstone, 1993). Although low voter turnout is considered by many to be an example of what is wrong with the political process or an indication of disinterest in voting, it doesn't always have to be a sign of foreboding

Explain why voter turnout has been declining in the past half of the century and why voter turnout in presidential years is higher than that in midterm elections

932 words - 4 pages Voter Turnout in Federal ElectionsIn the past half of the twentieth century, researchers observed a decline in the voter turnout in federal elections. It has also been observed that the voter turnout has been higher in presidential elections than in midterm elections. The main factors of the declines are the citizens' negative public attitudes and the widespread political "apathy". On the other hand, the difference between presidential and

Voter Turnout?

2030 words - 8 pages . This downward trend of voter turnout can be traced to the reforms of the Progressive era. Turnout in post-Progressive era America remained low, never reaching the levels attained before the Progressive era reforms. This would be expected, since there is little in the political history of these years that would indicate a return to a collectively oriented system of voter participation. Since 1912, only about 50 to 65 percent of Americans have

POP CULTURE ENDORSEMENTS AND YOUNG VOTER PARTICIPATION: AN ANALYSIS

1622 words - 6 pages that Rock the Vote met each of these four criteria and were able to turn out more than 17 million young adults in the 1992 general election.While Rock the Vote touted its purported victory of a 6.5 percent increase from the 1988 general election in voter turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds, numbers from ensuing elections indicate that since the 1992 general election, the numbers are dwindling. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the 2000

Voting Identification

961 words - 4 pages and hardly investigated. This is why requiring a photo ID decrease and hopefully eliminate voting fraud. An argument against requiring show identification when voting is that it would reduce voter turnout, especially for minorities, but this is not true. A recent article stated, “A study by the University of Missouri in 2008 found that voter turnout in Indiana’s first election after its voter ID law went into effect actually increased. A

The Controversy Over Voter Identification Laws

2213 words - 9 pages that these laws are unfair to those who want to vote but cannot and that they should be unconstitutional for disenfranchising voters. Conversely, proponents of these laws do not believe that they have an adverse effect on voter turnout once political motivations for voting are considered (Mycoff, Wagner, and Wilson 121). They feel that coupled with the increased “get-out-the-vote initiatives and grassroots programs designed to increase civic

Similar Essays

American Elections And Its Low Voter Turnout

1142 words - 5 pages these countries have shown more success in the turn out of voters. This is a question that many individual political scientists and political party campaign advisors seem to come by. A large question asked is why is American voter turnout so low; and how can we boost voter output.Now American voters are the lowest turnout of voters in the world, with the exception of Switzerland. This is possibly because of the fact that we do not have automatic

Improving Low Voter Turnout In The United States

670 words - 3 pages In our system of government we are privileged with the option to take part in the political process that runs the country. It is our right to vote that lets the people influence change in policy and set the guidelines that politicians must follow to be elected representatives. This precious ability, which is most coveted in most non-democratic countries, is taken for granted in our own. I believe that the low voter turnout in most

Low Voter Turnout A Malconstructed National Misconception Or Rational Citizens?

2383 words - 10 pages turnout was an unimpressive 45.53 per cent, whereas in the national parliament elections, 84,63 per cent voted (European Parliament, 2009b; Valmyndigheten 2010). It seems like Swedish citizens are far more inclined to vote in the national parliament elections than in the EP elections. This low engagement from citizens in EU level politics is a disturbing fact, and it is worthy of consideration and analysis. ! 3.1 The Low Voter Turnout in the

Factors Which Influence Youth Voter Turnout

1319 words - 5 pages there have been elections in which young voters turnout in record numbers, the notion that suggests that youth voters’ misrepresentation in politics causes their low voter turnout appears to be more convincing. Conventional wisdom contends that young people do not vote because they are naturally disengaged. This idea causes many to presume that political campaigns have no influence over youth voter turnout. In 2000, Robert Putnam blamed young