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Voter Turnout Question

  1. Oct 1, 2004 #1

    Gokul43201

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    What's the big idea with trying to raise voter turnout and getting more youngsters registered ?

    I think it would be better for the country if those who are well-informed voted...and those who aren't, stayed home. If your priorities aren't weighted towards making an informed decision, why should you vote at all ? Yeah, it's your right, and you may go ahead and exercise it, but I don't see the point of independent groups attempting to get more people registered. I think it would be more useful to get more people educated about politics instead, but that's a different problem altogether.
     
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  3. Oct 1, 2004 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Well that might do for some countries (Singapore maybe?), it isn't what the USA is about. Your issue has been debated from the start of the country, and one of the reasons Jefferson is still honored by liberals is that he clearly said that the people who are affected by the election should have the vote, and the process of voting was educational in itself. (Yes of course he did not include blacks and women, but it was partly due to his inspiration that they agitated and got the vote.)

    The poll tax and literacy tests were ruled unconstitutional, so if you're serious about your predjudice you have two choices: Amend the constitution or move elswhere.
     
  4. Oct 1, 2004 #3

    NateTG

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    Most of the voter registration drives are made by groups with ulterior motives, and typically target demographics that favor their agenda. Democrats will typically go for younger, minority and urban voters while the republicans might go after military and rural voters. Politically oriented sites refer to get out the vote (GOTV) as the 'ground game' of elections. In plain English: the people running voter registration drives are typically not as interested in fair or sound elections as they are in winning.
     
  5. Oct 1, 2004 #4

    BobG

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    The ideal would be to do both: encourage greater participation and provide unbiased education on the issues.

    Colorado does that to a certain extent.

    A pamphlet containing an explanation of each ballot issue is mailed out about a month prior to the election. It includes the ballot wording, an explanation of what the wording means, and what a "Yes" vote and a "No" vote mean (i.e. - does a "Yes" vote mean you're in favor of some law or tax, or does a "Yes" vote mean you're voting to kill some law or tax). The pamphlet also includes some of 'pros' and the 'cons' from each sides arguments (the wording of the pros and cons and which ones are included sometimes causes some bitterness with the losing side). The pamphlet is fairly long, depending on how many ballot issues there are, and I'm not sure how many actually take the time to read it. But, at least the info is available.

    For candidates, it's still pretty much left up to each campaign to get their own message across to voters.

    Regardless, the results are pretty disappointing sometimes. I don't think the average person understands the difference between voting for a law or voting for an amendment to the State's constitution. If you're clever enough, you can stick the state with a constitutional amendment that's hard to repeal regardless of how the situation has changed. If you have two clever groups, you can even get two opposing constitutional amendments passed and squeeze your elected officials between an unrelenting vice, giving you non-ending opportunity to criticize their inability to function.

    At least it's better than the old days when voter education consisted of the local newspaper publishing a sample ballot marked with their endorsement for public offices and ballot initiatives. At the end of the day, these had to be swept up off the floor of each polling place as voters used these as their voting guides.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2004
  6. Oct 1, 2004 #5

    Gokul43201

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    What might do ?
    Ow, that hurt !

    I'm not saying here that certain people be denied the vote to right. That would be despotic...I'm not that crazy.

    I'm merely questioning the logic behind getting people to vote. Do statistics show that a person who has voted once tends to stay in touch with politics and grows more aware, as a result ? In what way does it help to get more teenagers to vote ? I'm only asking because I think teenagers often don't understand what it means to pay taxes or provide for a family. I'm asking because I don't understand why the voting age is 18, instead of 15 or 25 ? And how about different age limits for voting on local/state matters as opposed to voting in national elections ?

    In other words, I'm asking what purpose it serves an for independent group to enthuse people into voting.

    NateTG's response seems to suggest that there's (almost) no such thing as an "independent group" - one without a vested interest in the ascendancy of a certain party. I think not. I know that CNN, for instance gets actively involved in getting people to vote.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2004
  7. Oct 1, 2004 #6

    NateTG

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    The voting age can vary by state; I'm not sure that it does. The federal voting age minimum is 18 because that's the age at which you can be drafted, but there is fairily serious talk about allowing younger people to vote in some places. Your claim that the minimum voting age is arbitrary is correct. The minimum driving age, and drinking age are similarly arbitrary.

    Are you sure that CNN does not have a preference? The corporation almost certainly prefers one of the candidates to the other. For example, some less than perfectly credible people have suggested that Dean had so much negative coverage after the 'I had a scream' speech because he wanted to change the way that the FCC regulated the airwaves, and, while I don't necessarily believe that that's true, it does make some sense.

    There are, of course, also other less political motivations for GOTV efforts, like the opportunity to advertise, access to polling, and promoting the election horserace coverage, and non-partisan political ones since higher voter turnout lends credibility and gravitas to the election process.
     
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