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Voter Turnout in Local Election - Research Paper Example

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Voter Turnout in Local Elections University Name Voter Turnout in Local Elections When it comes to media coverage and politics, it is no secret that national elections garner much of the attention. The Presidential election season in the United States, for example has stretched into an almost two year affair, often with non-stop coverage being granted from coast to coast…
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Voter Turnout in Local Election
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Download file to see previous pages Turnout is bad enough during the a federal election cycle, but when there are no national politics involved, that statistics get even poorer. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to unseat incumbents, many of whom have grown too comfortable in their position to enact meaningful change. There are other issues involved, as well, in the record low numbers of voters turning out in local elections. This paper aims to examine some of those issues, provide implications for such voter apathy should it continue, and propose possible solutions for increasing voter turnout in local elections in the future. There is a wealth of current research looking into possible reasons that local election typically draw such abysmal voter turnout year after year. Many simply blame this on voter apathy, a frustration with current politicians and government in general, or simply on a mismanagement of the election calendar, resulting in elections in off years simply not gaining the attention that they need to in order to garner a deeper interest in local government. While the reality is that it is likely a combination of these factors that have created the problem, a solution centered on having local elections coincide with the federal cycle will likely be a quick way to improve initial voter turnout numbers. Then, attention could be directed into getting more local involvement in government and restoring trust to the people in their own political system. To begin, let us consider the state of California. Hajinal and Lewis (2003) looked at some empirical research to determine various factors that are leading to low voter turnout in elections for various mayoral and city council races. The feeling was that something needed to be done to combat these low turnout numbers in order to have a more active and politically sensitive government. The study revealed that many residents in various towns and cities throughout the state had lost faith in their local government, so they have ceased any type of involvement in their community political system, most of all among these local elections. As a result, many incumbents are running unchallenged and seemingly unabated in their quest for a career in local politics. Not only has this phenomenon resulted in voter apathy, as it is difficult to get excited about voting when there is only candidate running for various offices, but it has also cheapened the entire political process of local government. The author’s of this study concluded that many local politicians who had been in office for numerous election cycles were now unmotivated to really invoked lasting change in the community, because they had no fear of being unseated. Similar to other studies, it was also uncovered that the same incumbents were supported in every campaign by the same special interest groups who could count on the local politicians to keep voting their way on various issues. It has been little wonder that many local communities simply have low turnout on voting day (Hajinal & Lewis, 2003). This study employed a methodology whereby current voting data was triangulated with current events in an effort to determine what remedies could be found to help encourage higher numbers of voters to actually turn out and cast their vote on election day. The research findings and data led to the eventual conclusion that shifting local ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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