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American Government - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class Date Voter Turnout Introduction A representative democracy, a republic, demands voter participation to operate as intended, to work on behalf of the people. The more engaged a general public is with the political process, the more equitable the governmental system…
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American Government
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Download file to see previous pages A democracy is flawed when government officials act in their self interest rather than the publics and when a portion of the populace is served more than others. We cannot be of the people if we are not by the people. Any reason for low voter turnout whether internally, from apathy or external sources such as intentional acts of voter suppression degrades and makes a mockery of a democracy, an ongoing experiment, a system that works only as well as people make it. By strengthening instead of weakening the Voting Rights Act of 1965, changing the voting day (Tuesday) and instituting mandatory voting among other techniques, voter turnout will be increased which is a victory in and of itself, a victory for the democratic process and we the people. Low voter turn out Pandering Political leaders usually show little interest in catering to segments of the population that historically vote in smaller numbers than the norm. They use their limited campaign resources, time and money, where it will do the most good. The 2012 presidential election is a good example. Republican candidate Mitt Romney courted the far-right of his party to win the primary because this was the most emotionally motivated group meaning they would vote in high numbers. Romney is credited for instituting the model for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as Governor of Massachusetts, a law that covers abortion and illegal immigrants. He did what all politicians do, pandered to the people going to the polls. The far-right Tea Party does not represent mainstream Republicans. Their voice is over-represented. Even after the presidential loss Republicans have not showed interest in attract minority voters. Voting blocks such as the Tea Party have a larger voice in government, a circumstance that does not accurately represent the population. Bad outcomes occur when a highly motivated minority carries a disproportionate voice such as when the House of Representatives shutdown the federal government, have voted to repeal Obamacare more than 40 times and is not allowing a vote on the immigration bill. Apathy A democratic government is designed to reflect the will of the majority and protect the civil liberties of all. Apathy, the lack of interest in the democratic process, acts to distort the ideal of democracy and not in a positive way. When half of those registered to vote choose not to exercise that right it results in a government that does not represent all people equally. People don’t vote for a variety of reasons including, ‘too busy,’ ‘don’t like either candidate,’ ‘have a disability’ and ‘just don’t care about politics.’ Voting apathy is getting worse. In 1960 nearly two-thirds of eligible voters made it to the polls, a number smaller than many other democracies but the largest turnout in the 50 years previous as well. In 2008 that relatively low number dropped to just over 50 percent. Those figures are for presidential elections. Off-year elections are much worse when voter apathy reaches two-thirds, a dismal number especially when compared to other democracies. Several countries consistently surpass more than 90 percent voter turnout including Australia, Belgium, Austria and Italy. (Ghosh, 2011). Voters who are more educated and of a higher socio-economic class vote in larger numbers than poor and less educated voters. In the 2008 election, according to the U.S Census Bureau, “76 percent of voters earning a median income of $50,000 or more voted, while only 59 percent of Americans ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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