political science discussion post comment response to classmate s post nydia

Chapter 8 Essay and Discussion

Political Participation and Voting

In chapter 8 of We The People (Ginsberg, et.al.) we discuss political participation, voting, and cause and effect of low voter turn out. As Americans, we are taught that voting goes hand in hand with patriotism. It is our duty as citizens to be active political participants. According to We The People, voting was not originally extended to all citizens. Instead it mostly included white, male, landowners. Over the years through civil unrest, protest, and political movements, suffrage is now extended to all American citizens.

In 1880, voting rights were extended to all male American citizens prohibiting race discrimination. But voting fees and unfair literacy test aimed to prevent the poor, uneducated, black and white voters were meant to suppress voters. Other tactics where such as closing voting poll stations in minority neighborhoods are still used today (Fausset, nytimes.com). Voter suppression is meant to deter minority or low income voters from participating in the political process. Recently voters in Georgia rejected a proposition made in Georgia to close 7 out of 9 voting stations in predominantly Black neighborhoods (Fausset, 2018).

Voting day takes place on the first Tuesday of November. Like many working class citizens, that work a 9-5 jobs, standing in long lines after work is not entirely appealing. Other factors such as single parent families make voting on a weekday extremely difficult, in large part due to the second shift many single parents undertake. Second shift meaning, many single parents will come home from work to take care of household responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of children and shopping for the household. Taking a day off to vote can mean a loss of wages, a risk many simply can not afford. Low income citizens tend to have the lowest numbers among voter participation (Ginsberg, et.al.).

Youth voter participation has shown an increase in recent years, in large part due to changes in laws regarding voter registration. Many states have created laws that either automatically registers all eligible citizens or allow same day voting and registration. Despite efforts to encourage voter participation, in 2016 only 59% voted in the presidential election (Ginsberg, et. al.). Although 2008 showed the highest numbers among youth voters (18-24) at 44%, still a low number compared to older voters (65 and older) at 70% (Ginsberg, et.al.).

Many reasons can deter voter participation such as finances, and a disinterest in politics. But voting is meant to influence our government, and we as citizens are duty bound to participate as laws can affect all American citizens. Not only in major elections, but voting for local politicians as well. Politicians tend to vote on issues important to voters. Voting gives citizens a say in how our government runs, and what laws are passed. Gun violence, pay inequality, and poverty are all issues that affect all American citizens. A single mother having to maintain a household on one income would benefit from a change in laws requiring employers to pay them equally as men, as opposed to seeking financial help from the government that is subsequently funded by tax payers. Gun violence has affected all socioeconomic classes. Tent cities has become a regular fixture in many suburban areas. We no longer have the luxury of being disinterested in politics, because decisions made by government can affect our everyday lives.

We The People, (Ginsberg, et.al.) 2017.

Georgia County Rejects Plan To Close 7 Polling Places In Majority-Black Area, Fausset (2018).

Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/us/randolph-cou…


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