Why is voter turnout so low?


Quick Answer

In the United States, low voter turnout rates stem from several factors, including type of election, level of education achieved by voters, age and socioeconomic status. Regardless of cause, voting rates in the U.S. typically fall below the turnout rates in other nations where citizens elect presidents and officials. More Americans vote during presidential elections than other types of elections, but even those numbers are low.

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Why is voter turnout so low?
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Full Answer

Factors such as competitiveness of upcoming elections and demographics play roles in determining voter turnout. Voting rates historically vary widely among states. In a given election year, many factors contribute to the number of state citizens going to the polls. In presidential elections, citizens of less competitive states go to the polls less often than in states where outcome is less certain. Election type also influences voter turnout. Fewer voters across all states turn out for primary elections and local elections. Among demographic factors, age and race influence voter turnout. Younger Americans and certain minorities, including Latin Americans and Asian-Americans, historically cast votes less frequently than older citizens, whites and African-Americans. Historically, women vote more often than men; this statistic reverses with age, however, as older women do not vote as frequently as men of the same age. Lastly, Americans with higher incomes vote in larger numbers than less wealthy citizens.

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