voter turnout

Tag Archive

National: Americans just set a turnout record for the midterms, voting at the highest rate since 1914. This explains why. | The Washington Post

This November’s elections set a voter turnout record: 49 percent of the voter-eligible population showed up at the polls, the highest midterm turnout seen since 1914. Why? Most commentators have concluded it was because voters thought the stakes were sky-high. With congressional control in the balance at a time when politics is highly polarized, many Democrats and Republicans thought the outcome was all but life-or-death for democracy. Pre-election polls found that about two-thirds of Americansbelieved this election was the most important midterm in their lifetimes; 93 percent of voters in battleground districts said their vote mattered just as much as in a presidential election; and enthusiasm about voting was at its highest level in any midterm in more than two decades. Read More

Editorials: Vote. Otherwise, the Hackers Win | John C. Fortier/Roll Call

Don’t let worries about election security keep you from going to the polls. The American voting system is in a better place than it has ever been, and added layers of protection ensure that votes can be cast and properly counted. What are citizens to do when they hear the constant drumbeat of elections under siege and the potential that election results could be changed by malicious actors? The answer: vote. Sitting out the election does nothing to promote election security. Voter turnout in midterm elections typically hovers around 40 percent of eligible voters, which is already too low. Better information about the strength and resiliency of the voting system should reassure worried voters. Let’s remind ourselves what really happened in 2016, because alarmist claims have swirled. Most important to remember is that there is no evidence any voting systems were compromised or that votes cast were changed by outside influence. Read More

National: New study scrutinizes time and effort it takes to vote in each state | Phys.org

Wide variations among the 50 states when it comes to the ease of casting a ballot are impacting the quality of democracy in the United States, a new study shows. Forget voter fraud. States are influencing who votes by making it easier or harder to cast a ballot, and that’s likely shaping election results, said study lead author Scot Schraufnagel, chair of the Department of Political Science at Northern Illinois University. He worked on the study with co-authors Michael J. Pomante II and Quan Li. Pomante II earned his doctorate from NIU in 2016 and works as a professor at Jacksonville University in Florida, while Li is a professor at Wuhan University in China. They created a “Cost of Voting Index”—using what is described in the study as “the largest assemblage of state election laws”—to rank each state according to the time and effort it took to vote in each presidential election year from 1996 through 2016. They analyzed the impact of 33 different variables dealing with registration and voting laws, with differences in registration deadlines carrying the most weight. Read More

Editorials: Voter Suppression Is No Excuse – Yes, it’s an outrage. But it is not the main reason that voter turnout is so low. | David Leonhardt/The New York Times

“My message in this upcoming election is very simple: It’s vote,” Barack Obama told his former speechwriter Jon Favreau in a recent episode of “The Wilderness” podcast. “It’s not that much to ask.” “This isn’t really a 50-50 country. It’s like a 60-40 country,” Obama continued. “Democrats could and will do even better if every one of your listeners not only votes but makes sure that all your wishy-washy, excuse-making, Internet-surfing, TV-watching, grumbling-but-not-doing-nothing friends and family members get to the polls. Vote.” Obama was clearly smiling as he delivered the line. But as soon as I heard it, I knew the reaction that many progressives would likely have: Don’t blame us — blame voter suppression! It’s the same reaction that I’ve heard when I have written about the miserably low voter-turnout rates in midterm elections. Read More

Romania: Weak voter turnout voids gay marriage referendum | Associated Press

A referendum aimed at putting same-sex marriage further out of reach in Romania was invalidated Sunday after a quick tally showed too few voters cast ballots, election officials said. The weekend vote on a constitutional amendment that would have changed the definition of family to make marriage a union between a man and a woman instead of between “spouses” required voter turnout of at least 30 percent for the result to stand. Election officials said after polls closed that only 20.41 of eligible voters participated. The turnout threshold never was close to being reached all day, a trend that gay rights group Accept said showed citizens “want a Romania based upon democratic values.” “We have shown that we cannot be fooled by a political agenda that urges us to hate and polarize society,” the group said in a statement before the turnout number was final. Read More

National: Planning to Vote in the November Election? Why Most Americans Probably Won’t | The New York Times

Lula Hill voted in just about every election once she became old enough in 1952. Her coal mining family of registered Democrats believed that elections were like church services: You didn’t skip them. But over time, her sense of civic obligation faded. Mines started laying people off. Opioids started poisoning her neighbors. As her town lost its vigor, Ms. Hill watched as smiling politicians kept making promises and, in her view, growing richer. By the late 1990s, when political leaders — Democrat or Republican — talked about the greater good, she no longer believed them. “I just got to the point, I said, ‘I’m not going do it anymore,’” said Ms. Hill, sitting on a couch in the lobby of the hotel she owns and runs, the Hotel Madison, 30 miles south of Charleston. “I just can’t vote for any of them in good conscience.” She has not voted since 1996 and said she has no intention of starting in November. Ms. Hill is hardly alone in West Virginia, a state with one of the lowest rates of voter turnout in the country and where the Democratic senator, Joe Manchin III, faces a tough race. Read More

Macedonia: Referendum approves name change, but turnout low | Associated Press

A referendum on changing Macedonia’s name as part of a deal that would pave the way for NATO membership won overwhelming support Sunday, but low voter turnout highlighted the hurdles that still remain for the Balkan country to join the alliance. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had hoped for a strong show of support in the referendum on whether to accept a June deal with Greece changing the country’s name to North Macedonia. That would help him with the next step of winning parliamentary support for the required constitutional amendments. Read More

National: On The Sidelines Of Democracy: Exploring Why So Many Americans Don’t Vote | NPR

Just in the past few months, elections in the U.S. have been decided by hundreds of votes. The 2016 presidential election tilted to Donald Trump with fewer than 80,000 votes across three states, with a dramatic impact on the country. Yet, only about 6 in 10 eligible voters cast ballots in 2016. Among the other 4 in 10 who did not vote was Megan Davis. The 31-year-old massage therapist in Rhode Island never votes, and she’s proud of her record. “I feel like my voice doesn’t matter,” she said on a recent evening at a park in East Providence, R.I. “People who suck still are in office, so it doesn’t make a difference.” Read More

Venezuela: Election fiasco deepens President Maduro’s isolation | El País

The abysmal turnout at Venezuela’s presidential election on Sunday, with absenteeism at its highest rate in the country’s history (46%), has further weakened the government of President Nicolás Maduro. The main opposition force, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), called for a boycott of the vote for lacking proper guarantees, leaving Maduro to take an overwhelming victory – one that was only recognized as legitimate by the government. Maduro’s rivals Henri Falcón and Javier Bertucci demanded a repeat election, although the former later conceded defeat. The results mean that Maduro will continue as president of Venezuela until 2025. According to officials, Maduro won with 6.2 million votes, outperforming his closest rival Falcón, who received 1.9 million votes. It was a victory in a campaign marked by indifference and an election day during which more than half the electorate (a total of nine million) decided not to vote, believing the opposition’s argument that the polls, announced at the beginning of the year, would be fixed in favor of the authorities. Read More

Venezuela: Maduro’s Top Rival Has a Problem: Venezuela’s Opposition Won’t Vote | Wall Street Journal

Henri Falcón, the top Venezuelan opposition candidate in Sunday’s presidential election, faces two obstacles to winning: his friends and his foes. He must not only outmaneuver a ruling administration using state machinery to dominate the vote. Mr. Falcón must also overcome the reluctance of a coalition of like-minded opposition parties that is boycotting a contest they say is rigged. Mr. Falcón’s message, in contrast is: You can’t win if you don’t participate. “I decided to show my face to the country,” Mr. Falcón told followers last week from a stage in this hard-bitten industrial town southwest of Caracas. “I don’t care about the criticism…It’s the moment of truth now, a time for common sense, for being rational.” Read More