Why voting is important

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Why voting is important

In the early years of our republic, only white landowners could vote. Slowly, the franchise was expanded in the states to incorporate white male laborers, and women gained full or partial suffrage in most states before winning the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution inwhich federalized full and equal voting rights for women.

Why voting is important the hardest voting rights struggle, Black Americans, whose right to vote was recognized in the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, continued to face official and unofficial restrictions and suppression in Southern states and cities until the Voting Rights Act of established strong federal protections for the freedom to vote by banning or limiting many of the discriminatory election policies and practices of the Jim Crow South.

The Voting Rights Act—combined with subsequent legislation such as the National Voter Registration Act, which requires state agencies to provide opportunities for voter registration—has helped us make significant progress in boosting voting by Black Americans and other historically marginalized groups.

At the same time, the overall voting rate fell to historic lows in this period, and, today, some American citizens are still without voting rights while many more face new restrictions or unnecessary challenges in exercising their right to vote. Millions of incarcerated persons, who are disproportionately people of color, cannot vote while serving their time, and millions more face limits on voting even when they are released.

In Southern states and elsewhere, eligible voters often face restrictive policies such as strict registration deadlines, photo identification requirements, and racially-motivated redistricting.

Many of these same states are also antagonistic toward making it easier to vote, by limiting early voting and other easier-access alternatives to the traditional voting booth. Reflecting an ongoing legacy of institutional racism in our election systems, this new generation of election policies and rules are targeted at certain groups and disproportionately affect people of color, people who are poor, and young people.

Why voting is important

As a result, large numbers of lesser-advantaged Americans are left out of the democratic process: More Why voting is important, while it is obvious to many why the turnout gaps matter for democracy, it is less obvious why closing the turnout gaps and creating a more fully inclusive democracy matters for the policy decisions and social outcomes that should be the fruit of our democracy.

We aim to help clarify one important reason why this is so by examining how the turnout gaps reflect not only differences in power and privilege but also striking differences in policy views and ideology.

At the core of this problem, we see that people in the under-voting groups tend to be more or substantially more in favor of progressive economic policies and government intervention in the economy compared to more affluent voters and particularly more affluent white voters.

Unequal Turnout In the presidential election, 62 percent of Americans turned out to vote. Though midterm turnout is generally lower than turnout in general elections, represents a dip from turnout in the last midterm election, when 46 percent of Americans showed up at the polls.

Even starker, however, are the significantly lower turnout rates among lower-income Americans and people of color compared to richer Americans and whites as a whole.

Inturnout among non-Hispanic whites was 46 percent, compared with 40 percent among Blacks, 27 percent among Asians and 27 percent among Latinos see Figure 1. Between the and midterm, white turnout dropped by 6 percent. Black turnout dropped by 9 percent, and Asian and Latino turnout by 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

The gap between midterm and Presidential turnout is disproportionally on people of color. While non-Hispanic white turnout dropped by 29 percent between andit dropped by 40 percent among Blacks, and 43 percent and 44 percent for Asians and Latinos, respectively.

Similarly, turnout dropped by 47 percent among the lowest income bracket, but only 31 percent among the highest income bracket between and see Figure 2. Class gaps are magnified by age gaps.

Why Voting is an Important Pillar of Democracy

The data on turnout gaps do not tell an entirely bleak story. The Voting Rights Act and the NVRA and other voter registration policies have helped to boost turnout by Black Americans significantly, most notably in the last two presidential elections.

InCensus data showed that Black voter turnout was higher than white turnout, with white turnout at 64 percent and Black turnout at 66 percent. Moreover, Black-white turnout gaps also vary significantly by state. InBlack turnout was 8 points lower than white turnout in Massachusetts, but it was 11 points higher in Mississippi.

InBlack turnout in Massachusetts was 27 points lower than white turnout and 17 points lower in California. Latino turnout rates varied dramatically by state infrom 18 percent in Alabama to 50 percent in Florida, compared to 58 percent and 66 percent white turnout, respectively.

It should also be noted that Census data overstate Black and Latino turnout, and the turnout gaps that we see in some states could be as much as twice as large. The data is limited, but at least one study suggests that Black Americans turnout in municipal elections at a rate 8 points lower than whites, with Latinos 39 points lower and Asians 36 points lower.

Such voting inequalities depress overall participation in our elections, but if we look at public opinion data that can be broken down between voters and nonvoters, it is clear that the turnout gaps are also very much about the content of our politics.

Simply put, by excluding so many eligible voters, our election systems do a very poor job of giving voice to the full diversity of viewpoints in our electorate, including sharp viewpoint differences in key areas of public policy.

Indeed, the viewpoints of lower-voting populations are almost entirely ignored in elections and policymaking, in no small part because they are missing at the polls. Thus, clearly and urgently, we need to close the voting gaps to ensure greater balance in electoral and policy outcomes, so that all Americans, not just affluent white Americans, may enjoy the fruits of democracy.

In the analysis that follows, we examine public opinion differences between voters and nonvoters, which help to illuminate the political and social impact of voter turnout inequalities.

Because pollsters do not regularly ask about previous voting behavior, we use voter registration status as a proxy for distinguishing voters and nonvoters, as do many other studies. A positive number indicates that more people support than oppose the policy, while a negative number indicates that more people oppose than support the policy.

Sometimes these gaps were dramatic, and in many cases enough to shift public opinion from a minority to a majority in support. Using the American National Election Study data from the election, we directly compared voters to nonvoters. Here, again, Demos calculated net support for each policy. Here we see something dramatic: Low-income nonvoters are significantly more likely to support increasing aid to the poor 59 percent in favor, 7 percent against and a strong role for government in guaranteeing jobs and living standards 51 percent in favor compared to 26 percent of nonvoters against.

High-income voters oppose both more aid to the poor 22 percent in favor, 25 percent against and overwhelmingly rejected a job guarantee 21 percent in favor and 62 percent against.It IS important to vote for many different reasons, to name a few, voting is a constitutional right, there is more to vote on than just the president, and in a close race every vote matters.

Expert Answers

First and foremost, voting is a constitutional right granted to the citizens of . I absolutely believe in this. I absolutely believe in the idea that voting for any candidate, any side of any issue is supremely important.

Because when I vote I know that I am not just voting for a candidate or a zoo or a judge, but I am also voting for the future.

Why is Voting Important in a Democracy One should vote because one gets to participate in the functioning of the government. Voting can help us choose able leaders who have qualities in them which can be beneficial for the growth of the country. It IS important to vote for many different reasons, to name a few, voting is a constitutional right, there is more to vote on than just the president, and in a close race every vote matters. First and foremost, voting is a constitutional right granted to the citizens of . I absolutely believe in this. I absolutely believe in the idea that voting for any candidate, any side of any issue is supremely important. Because when I vote I know that I am not just voting for a candidate or a zoo or a judge, but I am also voting for the future.

Voting is important because it helps decide who runs the government, both at a local and national level. It allows citizens to choose their representatives.

10 Facts on Why Voting is Important | The Borgen Project

Voting also helps to decide if local referendums pass, such as new taxes or education reforms. Aug 14,  · Originally Answered: Why is voting important to a democracy?

It’s the only way that the system can be legitimized. Democracy is a system of government that depends entirely upon the pretense of “General Will” or “Consent of the Governed”. Nov 06,  · But there is a more important point: the closer an election is, the more likely that its outcome will be taken out of the voters' hands -- most vividly exemplified, of course, by the Path to the Presidency: Why is it important to vote?

Every year, many students like you turn 18 and cast their first ballot on Election Day, fulfilling the most basic action in a democratic society. Voting is a fundamental process that keeps our system of government working.

3 Simple Reasons Why Voting is Important | Ask Your Dad Blog