Explain the low turnout in U.S. elections.

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Explain the low turnout in U.S. elections. "Miller light and bud light…either way you end up with a mighty weak beer!" This is how Jim Hightower (a Texan populist speaker) described the choices that the U.S. electorate had in the 2000 elections. This insinuates that there is a clear lack of distinction between the parties. Along with numerous others, this is one of the reasons why the turnout is so low in the U.S. elections. In trying to explain the low figures at the U.S. elections, analysts have called American voters apathetic to indifferent to downright lazy. I disagree that the 50% (in recent elections) of voters that fail to turnout to vote are lazy and that they have just reason not too. I will also show that the problem lies within the system itself in that the institutional arrangements, electoral and governmental, do not create an environment that is conducive to mass participation. I will address these main issues and several others that have an effect on voter participation. In doing so I will compare America to other established democracies. Some registration laws in the past had clearly been designed to abstain certain races and types of people from registering, these restricted rather than assisted voter turnout. In the South they made provisions to stop African-Americans voting and the North implemented obstacles such as the poll tax and literacy tests. These were blatant attempts to stop people who were not of the typical voter, an educated white male landowner from casting a ballot. Typically in the South turnout historically tends to be lower than that of the North. An example of this is the contest between Kennedy and Nixon when only 40% of the south turned out to vote compared with 70% of the rest of the nation. These southern states tend to be the ones who were part of the old Confederacy. They still seem to have similar political ideologies, as in the most recent election George W. Bush took all these states in defeating Al Gore. It seems that the stigma connected to the civil war that ended over 130 years ago still seems to loom over American politics. However due to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, procedures for registration have become much more user friendly in allowing a much wider scope of American citizens to register. Because of this Act I am going to concentrate on the more recent elections and explanations for the low turnout.

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