The decline of voter turnout in the United States has prompted researchers to examine the factors that contribute to this trend. This paper is aimed at discussing the role that political parties and interest groups play in the mobilizing electoral participation. Moreover, it is important to show how electoral rules and individual characteristics of citizens affect voting likelihood.
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On the whole, it is possible to argue that political parties and interest groups have a great potential to mobilize citizens; yet, they have not used it during the recent years because of their increasing emphasis on fundraising. Moreover, it is critical to simplify the bureaucratic and legal procedures associated with voting. These are the main issues that should be examined in greater detail.
It is necessary to mention that political parties pay more attention to fundraising campaigns which are also critical for the success of political candidates (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 298). Nevertheless, they do not focus on the mobilization of potential voters. In some cases, they do not try to attract volunteers. This is one of the aspects that should be considered.
The problem is that in many cases, citizens can be asked to donate money, but they are not encouraged to participate in politics. One should keep in mind that people are more likely to vote if a person, who is familiar to them, asks to take an active part in the political process. By relying on such social networks, political parties can engage citizens. In contrast, other techniques such as direct mail or phone calls are less effective. Therefore, political parties should change the way in which they interact with people in order to increase voter turnout.
Moreover, one should not disregard the importance of interest groups that played a crucial role in mobilizing citizens in the middle of the twentieth century. For example, it is possible to mention the role of labor unions and civil rights organizations in the sixties (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 295). The key problem is that these interest groups have also become more orientated to fundraising.
At present, these organizations do not encourage its members to express their views on the political agenda through voting. This is one of the details that should be taken into account. Thus, it is possible to say that political parties and interest groups do not make use of their potential to mobilize voters. As a result, their role has been reduced significantly. This is one of the factors that contribute to the decrease of voter turnout. These organizations should keep in mind that fundraising is not the only form of interacting with community members.
Additionally, it is critical to consider the socio-economic characteristics of citizens since these characteristics can influence people’s attitudes towards elections. It should be noted that people with more years of education are more likely to vote. The turnout is particularly high among college graduates (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 295). Additionally, the age of an individual is another important factor that should not be disregarded. In particular, older people, whose age ranges from 45 to 64, are more likely to participate in the political life of the country (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 295).
This argument is particularly relevant if the voting participation of this group is compared to the turnout of people aged between 19 and 24. This is one of the details that should be distinguished. Additionally, it is important to mention that the employment status of a person is another factor that affects the voting turnout. Moreover, researchers note that family income level is directly correlated with voter turnout (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 295).
As a rule, more affluent citizens are more likely to vote. Finally, one should note that white people are more likely to vote, than Asian Americans. These attributes should be considered by politicians. In particular, they need to find ways of attracting people who are less willing to be involved in political or social activities.
Yet, political parties should keep in mind that some groups are becoming much more involved in the political life of the country. For instance, one can mention that Hispanic Americans become more willing to act as voters. In some cases, they can give a competitive edge to the parties. Therefore, one should not suppose that voting patterns are static.
Furthermore, one should keep in mind that the electoral laws and rules also influence the level of participation. Much attention should be paid to the complexity of bureaucratic procedures that make many people to take part in voting. Policy-makers have been aware of this problem. This is one of the reasons why the Motor Voter Act was adopted.
This law enables people to register when they need to apply for a driver’s license (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 295). Yet, this policy was not very effective as it increased only the number of registered voters; however, their turnout remained at the same level. It is important to mention that people prefer to be registered as voters on the day of elections. Nevertheless, at present, they are deprived of this opportunity. This is one of the problems that should be addressed by legislators and public administrators who need to meet the needs of citizens.
There are several legal obstacles that prevent many people from voting. For instance, in many parts of the United States, people convicted of a felony are not allowed to vote (Ginsberg, Lowi, and Weir 294). As a result, many social groups are underrepresented. This issue is important if one speaks about African Americans. Furthermore, it is critical to consider the electoral rules.
For instance, absentee voting is made rather difficult. Furthermore, in the United States, elections are held on working days. This is why many people have fewer opportunities for voting since they can have other commitments. In contrast, in many European countries, elections are usually held on weekends. These are some of the details that can be identified since it demonstrates that some electoral procedures should be changed.
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On the whole, this discussion indicates that voter turnout is affected by a complex set of factors. It is possible to say that the political parties and interest groups can play a critical role in mobilizing citizens; nevertheless, they pay more attention to the fundraising, rather than involving citizens. As a result, many people are less willing to participate in politics.
These are the main aspects that can be distinguished. Apart from that, much attention should be paid to the existing of legal barriers. It should be noted that some electoral laws and rules make impossible or rather difficult for many people to take part in the political life of the United States. These are some of the main details that can be singled out.
Ginsberg, Benjamin, Theodore Lowi, and Margaret Weir. We the People: An Introduction to American Politics, New York: Norton & Company, 2010. Print.