Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Gotta Vote!

on 3 November 2009

We interrupt the normally scheduled writings for this special political pondering.

Ah yes, time to trot out the old civil rights and civic duty again- today was election day. Interestingly enough, my government class spent a good portion of class today talking about why people are voting less and less. According to this guy Patterson, there are a variety of reasons. Loosely summarized, they are as follows:

  1. Voters don’t feel that their vote counts. Um, sorry, but duh. When the majority is reached, pollsters stop counting in order to save time and effort. What pollsters don’t acknowledge is that when they take these shortcuts, they guarantee that certain voters won’t show up at the polls next election. Oh well, less to count….
  2. Voters are sick of negative campaigns. I mean, come on candidates. If you want people to vote for you, give them a reason to vote for you instead of just trying to make sure they despise your opponent.
  3. Voters no longer identify with a political party. By 1970, 30% of Americans called themselves Independents, and that number has been steadily rising since then. Without party identification, there is no party loyalty. Without party loyalty, people have little motivation to go out to the polls- they really don’t care one way or another.
  4. Voters feel that campaigns are depressing. This makes people less interested in getting involved if they feel that they will be despondent afterwards. Who wants to bother with something that doesn’t make them feel happy or satisfied?
  5. The move of electoral debates to cable hurt the cause more than extending its audience. Out of sight, out of mind. Too, campaigns stretch on for months at a time, causing voters to disengage. Patterson believes that if campaigns could be kept down to a few weeks right before the actual election day, then voters would be more inclined to pay attention and cast their ballot.

So, vote often and vote well. Don’t detach yourself from politics just because you don’t like what the process has become. Instead, stay involved- be the change you want to see in politics.

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