voter turnout

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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.

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

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.

Full Article: Vote. Otherwise, the Hackers Win.

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.

Full Article: New study scrutinizes time and effort it takes to vote in each state.

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.

Full Article: Opinion | Voter Suppression Is No Excuse - The New York Times.

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.

Full Article: Romania: Weak voter turnout voids gay marriage referendum - The Washington Post.

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.

Full Article: Planning to Vote in the November Election? Why Most Americans Probably Won’t - The New York Times.

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.

Full Article: Macedonia: Referendum approves name change, but turnout low - ABC News.

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.”

Full Article: On The Sidelines Of Democracy: Exploring Why So Many Americans Don't Vote | KUNR.

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.

Full Article: Venezuela election results: Venezuelan election fiasco deepens President Maduro’s isolation | In English | EL PAÍS.

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.”

Full Article: Maduro’s Top Rival Has a Problem: Venezuela’s Opposition Won’t Vote - WSJ.

Lebanon: Low turnout worries politicians as Lebanon voting ends | The Guardian

Lebanon’s first national elections in nine years were marked by a tepid turnout Sunday, reflecting voter frustration over endemic corruption and a stagnant economy. Politicians had urged citizens to vote, and security forces struggled to maintain order as fights broke out in and around polling stations. President Michel Aoun broadcast an appeal to voters to participate in a televised address an hour before polls closed in the evening. “If you want change, you should exercise your right” to vote, he said in a message published on Twitter at the same time.

Full Article: Low turnout worries politicians as Lebanon voting ends | Regional | News | The Guardian.

Lebanon: Will the Lebanese vote in parliamentary elections? | Al Jazeera

The last parliamentary elections in Lebanon were held nine years ago. Since then, the country has seen its executive body sit vacant for two years, watched parliament extend its tenure twice, and witnessed a prime minister abruptly resign and just as suddenly retract his resignation. A new electoral law, passed last summer, staved off a major political deadlock that threatened to leave the country without a parliament – and the bill set a vote deadline of May 2018. But as the country prepares to put the new electoral law to the test, many Lebanese expressed scepticism and a lack of enthusiasm for the May 6 parliamentary elections.

Full Article: Will the Lebanese vote in parliamentary elections? | News | Al Jazeera.

National: Groups partner to improve local elections | The Hill

The education arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is teaming up with a voting rights group to increase voter turnout and fix polling problems that keep people from voting. The Leadership Conference Education Fund announced Wednesday that it’s partnering with Access Democracy for three years to provide institutional support in the group’s efforts to fix local election issues such as long lines and broken voting machines. 

Full Article: Groups partner to improve local elections | TheHill.

Egypt: Sisi Is Poised to Win Egypt’s Election, With 92% of the Vote | The New York Times

Early results from Egypt’s election showed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi headed for a landslide victory with 92 percent of the vote, state media reported Thursday, an unsurprising margin in a race where he eliminated all serious opposition months ago. Mr. Sisi’s token opponent, Moussa Moustapha Moussa, received just 3 percent of the vote, less than the number of spoiled ballots, state media said. With his main rivals in jail or forced from the contest, Mr. Sisi relied on voter turnout to demonstrate his popularity. State media said that about 40 percent of voters cast ballots during the three days of voting that ended Wednesday, down from 47 percent in the 2014 election that formalized Mr. Sisi’s power.

Full Article: Sisi Is Poised to Win Egypt’s Election, With 92% of the Vote - The New York Times.

Burundi: Over 5 million seek to vote in controversial Burundi poll: election chief | AFP

More than five million people have signed up to vote in Burundi’s controversial constitutional referendum in May and elections in 2020, which could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in power until 2034.
By the end of the inscription process on Saturday, “a total of 5,000,742 people” signed up, including Burundians living abroad, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was quoted as saying Tuesday by local media. The figure was higher than CENI’s estimate of 4.5 million earlier. This includes those who will be of voting age in time for the referendum as well as people who will become adult by the 2020 general elections, Ndayicariye said. The CENI has not stated how many of the registered people will need to wait until 2020 to be of voting age.

Full Article: Over 5 million seek to vote in controversial Burundi poll: election chief | The Citizen.

Washington: Legislators consider expanding voting rights | Snoqualmie Valley Record

Voting rights legislation proposed by Democratic lawmakers aims to boost election turnout for young and low-income voters and enhance representation in communities often left out in political affairs. One bill would allow local governments to change their local election processes without going through court; the other would extend the voter registration period and allow same-day in-person registration. Both bills have versions in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two bills in the House were heard on Tuesday, Jan. 9 and the two bills in the Senate were heard on Wednesday Jan. 10.

Full Article: Legislators consider expanding voting rights | Snoqualmie Valley Record.

Mississippi: Lawmaker hopes to increase low voter turnout | MSNewsNow

Hinds County voters returned to the polls Tuesday in the special election runoff for county attorney, but election officials reported extremely low turnout, which isn’t uncommon for runoffs. One lawmaker hopes bills he is introducing will increase the numbers casting their ballots. Throughout much of the day, Tuesday poll workers sat waiting for voters. At Precinct 14, Fondren Presbyterian Church, only eight people had voted by 11:30 in the special runoff is for county attorney. According to Hinds County election officials, just  6.8% of registered voters cast their ballot in the November 7 election. There are more than 150,800 registered voters in the county.

Full Article: Lawmaker hopes to increase low voter turnout - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS.

Chile: Low turnout in Chile election could hand victory to Pinera | Reuters

The frontrunner for Chile’s presidency, billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera, faces an array of left-wing parties in this year’s elections but he can expect help from one quarter – low turnout. Recent opinion polls give Pinera, a conservative former president, a commanding lead over his seven mostly left-of-center rivals for the Nov. 19 first round but predict he is unlikely to take the more than 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off. While a unified left might muster the votes to defeat Pinera in the second round, weak turnout fed by disenchantment with politics and interparty bickering would pave the way for a Pinera win.

Full Article: Low turnout in Chile election could hand victory to Pinera.

Russia: Low turnout, fraud claims mar Russia local elections | AFP

Russians shunned the polls Sunday for local elections which are the last vote before the presidential elections in March next year, with very low turnout rates as the opposition cried foul. There were numerous cases of fraud in the some 6,000 polls organised in 82 regions to elect 16 regional governors and many municipal councils, the opposition claimed, saying things were worst in the capital Moscow. According to preliminary results, the vote went well for parties close to the ruling United Russia, which scored a resounding majority in legislative elections a year ago. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the results were “very favourable” for United Russia, of which he is president, according to comments given to Russian press agencies. Voter turnout rates were low, in particular in Moscow where the electoral commision said that only 14 to 15 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots, according to figures available two hours before polling stations closed.

Full Article: Low turnout, fraud claims mar Russia local elections Yahoo7 News.

Indiana: Study Committee Considers Automatic Voter Registration | WBAA

Members of a legislative study committee Wednesday debated the merits of automatic voter registration. The discussion was part of an examination of election laws’ impact on voter participation. Ten states in the country have some form of automatic voter registration. In most of them, citizens are registered to vote while doing other business at the BMV. Advocates say the system could increase voter turnout.

Full Article: Study Committee Considers Automatic Voter Registration | WBAA.