Voter Behavior.

Essay by Satisfxn November 2003

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Downloaded 42 times

Political scientist John Johnson once made this comment in the past about the behavior of the American people when it comes down to voting, "Millions of Americans do not vote. Given the fact that we are a democracy, this apathetic behavior is irrational and harmful to American government." William Bianco wrote about part of this statement in his essay, "Voters and Vote Decisions". He wrote about the rationality of voters voting or abstaining. Bianco would say, in response to Johnson's comment, that voters are rational in their abstinence for a few reasons. Bianco wrote that even if a voter preferred one candidate a lot more than the other, he/she will probably still abstain from voting. The main reason people do not vote is the benefits and costs of voting. For many people, the costs outweigh the benefits, so they do not vote. Costs such as location, citizenship, learning about the candidates, time, effort, and even money prevent many from the desire of voting.

But some people, even if it is much more costly to them than it is beneficial, vote no matter what because they consider it a duty, but there are not many of these people compared to the others. Therefore, because of these things, Bianco states that not voting is a rational choice that voters can make. Bianco writes throughout his essay that voters are "Rational Actors". The essay "Democratic Practice and Democratic Theory" by Bernard R. Berelson, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, and William N. McPhee mainly pertains to the last part of Johnson's comment about Americans. The authors of this essay answer the question "Is not voting harmful to American government?". They would surely say voting is not harmful to American Government, but on the contrary, beneficial to it. Also, they would most definitely disagree with Johnson's...