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History shows less than 60% of US voting age population will vote

Oct 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

HISTORY shows voter participation in the upcoming US presidential election will be below international averages – and well under New Zealand.

Despite an estimated cost of $2.5b, the total number of people choosing not to vote will outnumber the votes for the eventual winner.

Predicting likely voter turnout before an election is always difficult, though early indications point to a downturn in young voters.

A Pew Research Centre poll found less young people stating that they ‘definitely plan to vote’ in this election than in the previous election.

According to the Military Voter Protection Project, the percentage of military personal that have requested an absentee ballot has also fallen sharply since the last election.

Since 1948, the percentage of the voting age population that has cast a ballot in a presidential election is 58% on average, with participation peaking at 63% in 1960. In 2008 just over 57% voted.

By contrast, New Zealand has an average voter turnout of 84%, although last year’s election had the lowest turnout (70%) since records began in 1946.

The information is compiled on the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance website.

The institute says the turnout for US federal elections is even less, with an average of only 47% since records began in 1946.

Other countries in the OECD reported higher presidential and parliamentary turnout for their last elections with average turnouts of 60% and 65% respectively.

The institute, which collects worldwide voting information, says in terms of voting age population turnout, The US is currently ranked 138th in the world.

If the clearest measure of citizen participation in a countries democratic process is voter turnout, America is trailing most of the developed world.

The 2008 US Census Bureau Voting Survey concluded that more than a quarter of registered non-voters in 2008 didn’t vote because they weren’t interested or didn’t like the available candidates.

Image: rgbstock.com

 

 

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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