Pol 161- 004
Why Americans Aren't Exercising Their Right to Vote
As most Americans know it is the time of year again to elect new national representatives and senators in the midterm elections. Do they know? Looking at the percentages of voting in these elections one would assume they haven't got a clue. The voter turnout historically is incredibly poor, usually coming in at around 40%. However, according to TIME, this year's turnout hit a 72-year low at 36.4%. Why is that? While midterm elections aren't as popular as presidential elections, they are still very important. Election Day, not presidential election but midterm elections, is the main event for the battle of the Senate. Every two years the midterm election gives Americans the opportunity to rearrange the political makeup of the U.S. Congress in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Midterm elections fall right in the middle of the four-year term of the President of the United States, which means that the midterm election can be often viewed as the opportunity for people to express their satisfaction or frustration with the president's performance.
In each midterm election, one-third of the 100 Senators (who serve six year terms), and all 435 Members of the House of Representatives (who serve for two years) are up for reelection.
History tells us that midterm elections are bad for the party currently controlling the White House and the congressional majorities. Wouldn't American citizens want to have a say in who will hold these majorities next? Do people realize that their vote can make a difference during midterm elections? In this essay I will discuss three theories of why American vote percentages are so low and how these apply, or don't apply, to why I did not vote in...