Discussion Essay: Produce a 500 word+ discussion essay addressing the following discussion prompt. Be sure to give me college level writing, free from obvious spelling and grammar errors, that is well organized, using paragraphs and proper formatting. For credit, this essay needs to be posted directly into your discussion window; attachments are not graded. Also, you need to incorporate at least two sources (one can be your book) into your analysis, and properly site these sources using endline and end-of-document citations and live links if your reference contains a web address. Please post the main part of your essay by Friday, and offer a meaningful reply to at least two classmates by Sunday.
The 2022 Midterm elections are thought to have one of the highest midterm elections ever with turnout estimated at near 50% of the voting age population. What? How is 50% impressive? The 2022 Midterms estimate the young voters, age 18 to 29 turned out in great numbers, with nearly 27% casting a vote. Again, what? Sounds low, doesn’t it.
In the 2020 Presidential Election we had a higher than normal voter turnout with an estimated 65% of eligible voters voting. In the 2018 midterm election, we almost set a record for voting turnout in a midterm election. As of current counts, 49.3% percent of eligible voters cast ballots, that is about 116 million adults, actually more adults than the highest percentage of eligible voters set in 1914 at 50.4%. This midterm saw a increase of approximately 12% in voter turnout from the 2014 midterm election. Great, yes? Hmm. Maybe, if the trend continues.
In perspective, still less than half of all possible voters voted; even will all the election hype, in one of our best midterm turnouts ever, less than half of us bothered to vote. Would it ever be possible to see turnouts of 70% or 80% in what we argue is one of the greatest countries in the world? In the last regional municipal election held April 3rd, of 2018, voter turnout was abysmal. The average voting turnout for all of St. Louis County was only 14%. The City of Wildwood, where campus is located, had 15% of their voters turn out. In November, the City of St. Louis, where a tax increase was on the ballot to increase police pay, only sported a turnout rate of 21%. Even the final numbers for the 2016 election shows that only a little more than half of the nation’s voting age population voted (56.9%) in the general election. Turnout in the 2016 presidential primary elections was also not that impressive. For example, although Missouri, which holds an open primary, saw a slight increase in primary voting, still only 31% of those age 18 and older voted (or only 39% of those actually registered). According to Pew Research, in the first 12 primaries of 2016, combined Republican turnout was 17.3% of eligible voters while Democratic turnout was 11.7% And, these horribly low figures represent increases in turnout from previous early primary elections. Similarly, midterm voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest in 72 years at 36.3 percent nationally. In April 2015, where there were focused get-out-the-vote efforts in Ferguson, voting turnout remained disheartening. In Ward 3, which includes Michael Brown’s neighborhood and businesses destroyed from looting, only 19% of voters cast ballots. Voter turnout in the United States for presidential elections has been low for many years, even with the 2008 and 2012 slight increases. There was a slight jump to 62.3% in 2008 in the election of our first bi-racial president. However, voter turnout was back down to around 40% in the 2010 midterm elections with only 20% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 voting. Voting turnout was up again in 2012 to about 57.5%, but then dropped dramatically again in the 2014 midterms so that just over a third of those eligible to vote turned out (again, 36.7%).
What is going on? Typically speaking, American’s are fairly patriotic and proud of their democratic form of government, but yet we do not in great numbers exercise our fundamental right to vote.
Voter turnout as been higher in Iraq, and higher in previous multi-day elections in Egypt, where people were literally risking their lives to vote. Political scientists believe that one reason why voting turnout in the U.S. even made 58% in 2012 was the result of citizen “push-back” against last minute election laws many thought were designed to suppress voter participation. And in 2016, angry voters may be one reason we maintained a turnout above 50%. Voter turnout in the United States is among the lowest of all democratized nations on earth. According to a Pew Research article posted on November 1, 2022, the U.S. ranks only 21st in voting of all of these nations. What gives?
Based on your text, notes, and consumption of political media, why do you think voter turnout in the U.S. is so low? If you do not vote, what are the barriers keeping you from showing up at the polls? Of those of you who are age 18 and older and did NOT vote in this midterm election, what are your reasons? If you voted, what are your reasons? Would have voted if extra credit was not awarded? Why or why not? What are some remedies that might work to get more people both informed about the candidates and their policy positions, and actually casting a ballot? Do you think having a direct election of the President (meaning, amending the Constitution to do away with the Electoral College) would help? Or, is working to get more people to vote a “bad” thing, since some argue that these new voters would most likely be casting uninformed ballots and voting on the basis of “who they would like to have a beer with” or who they find most physically attractive.