Low voter turnout hinders democracy

Despite investing money and resources into recent congressional elections in heavily Republican districts in Kansas and Georgia, Democrats were not able to pull out wins in the respective elections.

While Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff did win a majority of the votes, he did not garner enough votes to avoid a run-off election in June.

Despite claims to the contrary by Bernie Sanders, Democrats did invest resources into the Kansas race in an attempt to gain a congressional seat long held by Republicans.

“The local Democrats, despite Bernie saying that they didn’t get out enough to support their candidate, were paying $12.50 an hour to canvassers,” said Edward Bowie, chairman of NIU College Republicans. “The Democrats were bussing in people from all sorts of places out of state for this race, they had all kinds of help, they worked themselves nearly to death and they couldn’t even approach 45 [percent of the vote].”

A major obstacle preventing Democrats from winning that seat is a problem that continues to linger over all state and national elections in the United States: low voter turnout.

In the 2016 general election, only 60.2 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, according to figures on United States Elections Project’s website. While that figure is up from the 58.6 percent who voted in 2012’s general election, those numbers are still well below the voting statistics of neighboring countries.

Canada, for example, had a 68.3 percent voter turnout in their 2015 federal elections, according to the Elections Canada website.

Midterm elections voter turnout in the U.S. is even worse, with only a 36.7 percent voter turnout rate in 2014, according to the United States Elections Project’s website.

Regardless of party affiliation, all citizens should be involved in the voting process, both for general elections and during midterm elections.

It is our civic duty to partake in every election. It is also the most productive way to enact real change in our government. Get informed and get out on election day and make your voices heard. 

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