Strategy To Increasing Voter Turnout and Voter Retention – by Andrew Bailey. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Voter turnout is on the decline in our country and this poses a major problem for our democratic system. This is the case for local, state and federal elections. Voter turnout among voters between the ages of 18-24 is the lowest of all. Political parties in the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin are trying to reverse these statistics one voter at a time. Efforts to increase voter turnout and retention include making contact with potential voters in several different forms. Telephone calls, social media campaigns and mailings are executed by political parties to increase voter contact, voter turnout, and voter retention. The general trend is that voter turnout in presidential elections is much higher than in races for local elections. The turnout for presidential elections can hover anywhere from 50-80% of the electorate, compared to less than 20% for local elections such as city mayors, judicial positions, city council and school board positions, and county executive offices.
One of the methods utilized by political parties is contacting voters and sending them a ballot in the mail prior to election day. This is a brilliant move as members of the electorate are more likely to vote in a local election if the ballot is mailed right to their door. Simply put, it makes the voting process easier and increases the likelihood that the individual’s voice is heard in local elections. Not only does mailing the ballots to potential voters make voting easier, it increases the awareness on the part of the potential voter that an election is taking place. These local races will have a huge impact on the voters’ community, as these elected officials become the heartbeat for our schools, cities, and counties–leading initiatives and implementing policies that have wide ranging impacts.
Historically, the opportunity to vote has been guaranteed under the Constitution for most U.S. citizens. Americans have fought to expand the right to vote during the women’s suffrage movement and throughout the Civil Rights era. Women in the United States were not able to vote until the 1920’s and African Americans were not able to fully participate in the voting process until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed (following the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).
Reflecting upon the history of our nation, U.S. citizens must come to the realization that the right to vote has not always been guaranteed to every person in our country. Many would argue that a vote is no longer held in high regard–as a vote can be cast by almost anyone–something that many people in our nation take for granted. Our nation has made remarkable strides in opening up the vote to all citizens, but let us not forget the momentous achievements of those who fought for their voice to be heard throughout the suffrage and civil rights movements. A question we must all ponder is how to make the voting booth more attractive once again and draw voters of all ages to exercise a fundamental right preserved by the U.S. Constitution and fought for by heroes of the civil rights and suffrage movements.
Andrew Bailey serves as an assistant editor for The North Star Reports. Andrew served as an intern for the Wisconsin GOP, and this essay is a part of his reflection on that opportunity.
Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our guiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five years we have published over 300 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our volunteer student editors and writers come from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). We have an all volunteer staff. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang and NSR Student Editors and Writers. For a brief summary of our history, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm
Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Ellie Swanson and Marin Ekstrom, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.
(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu