Voter turnout is one of the determining factors of a healthy democracy as voters elect the kind of leaders that they think are competent to fulfill the different agendas espoused in different parties’ manifestos.
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The effectiveness of the voting process can be measured by the proportion of people who cast their ballots, as some people may be discouraged from voting due to irregularities in the voting systems, which raises questions and doubts on the democratic sincerity of a given political setting.
Hence, voter turnout should be a cause of concern to the government as the elected leaders should be a representative of the majority of eligible voters and unequal involvement can alter the pattern of representation and this aspect has real effects on policy outcomes and governance.
Texas is the second most densely inhabited of all the 50 states of the United States, and thus one would expect that should also rate second or even first in the rating of voters who cast their ballots during elections. Unfortunately, this expectation is unrealistic as compared to other states, Texas has 36 percent voter turnout, which is among the lowest ratings in the country.
This scenario is a very crucial problem in Texas, as the residents do not seem to be interested in participating in their democratic right of electing their leaders of choice.
One of the factors that appear to be influencing this low voter turnout is the two-party system in the US (Bessette and Pitney 83). This system only gives an option of choosing between two contestants during the general election, and this aspect has greatly influenced Texas politics as one of the parties has always dominated politics for a long period.
The Republican Party, which has remained dominant for decades with increasing expensive campaigns and continued support from the Latino community, has discouraged the Democrats from participating in the voting process as they feel that they are outnumbered. This aspect implies that as the popularity of the Republican Party continues to increase, the Democratic Party popularity is declining.
For example during the 2010 general election, the Texas politics were mainly dominated by the race between two Republicans, which attracted an overwhelming turnout of 1.4 million people from the Republican side. The Republican governor, Rick Perry, who won the primary vote, defeated Bill White from the Democratic side by a very large margin.
This trend is very worrying as Texas politics is being dominated by only one party and many people from the Democratic Party fail to vote since they do not think that their vote will make a difference due to the tyranny of numbers of the other party. The result of such a trend is the worrying 36 percent turnout of voters despite the fact that 61.6 percent of Texans are eligible for voting.
Education level is another factor that has contributed to the low voter turnout in Texas. Educated people are better decision-makers and they know the role that they need to play in electing leaders who will bring changes to the society.
Unfortunately, the education level in the state of Texas has been ranked below the national level, especially among the African Americans and Hispanic communities whose voter turnout is very low. These communities, due to their poor education background, seem to have no knowledge of the political system of the state and hence the lack of interest in participating in the election process.
As a very populous state, Texas is home to many young people who have attained the required voting age of 18 years. This young generation does not see the need to be involved in political matters, which clearly shows that age is another determining factor in the low voter turnout rate, as few young people are likely to vote as compared to the older generation (Bessette and Pitney 142). The youths in Texas lack crucial knowledge that voting is their civic duty and despite their tender age, they can shape the state by casting their ballots.
Income level among different families is also another factor that has influenced the issue of low voter turnout in Texas. The income levels in Texas also rate below the national level and the state ranks nine in the percentage out of all the other states in relation to people living in poverty due to low-income levels.
Such people are less likely to vote as they lack the motivation to do so probably because they have other issues to deal with instead of voting. Therefore, people with low income are less likely to vote as compared to high-income earners. The example of voter turnout in the Collin County where people have better sources of income and the voter turnout was higher as compared to the Starr County where people have low income and the turnout was below 36 percent, which shows how income affects voter turnout.
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Democrats in Texas should mobilize their supporters and source for more funds that they can use during their campaigns to avoid the problem of the Republican Party dominance in the state. This move will not only increase the voter turnout but also competition in the election of the best leader from the two parties.
The state should also realize that voter turnout is also a subject to socioeconomic factors such as education, and thus raise the education levels to the national standards not forgetting to be actively involved in voter education programs. This way, a majority of the Texans will appreciate and embrace their civic duty to vote, and thus probably increase the voter turnout in the area.
Bessette, Joseph, and John Pitney. American Government and Politics: Deliberation, Democracy and Citizenship, Boston: Wadsworth Publishing, 2013. Print.