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0px 0.0px; line-height: 20.0px; font: 12.7px ‘Times New Roman’; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}INTRODUCTIONAn important feature of American democracy is voting and elections. Electoral participation is the different activities by an individual to affect the results of an election. Voting, volunteering for campaigns, and participating in a non-partisan event are the most common forms of participation.

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Participation can be weighted by the extent and the regularity of how it is performed. Particular groups are more likely to put in more energy, dedicate time or provide resources such as money, to a campaign than others. Participation can similarly be measured by the amount of information relayed to the political party or a candidate by the participants. This is because voting does not give a reason behind the preference for a particular candidate than the other. In this essay, the reasons for some people participating in voting more than others and the factors that influence voters’ choice have been looked into. Furthermore, the effectiveness of election in the democracy has been discussed.Reasons why some people are more likely to vote than othersSome individuals are probable to vote compared to others because of different reasons and forms of distortion. To begin with, some people lack the opportunity to vote possibly due to ineligibility or the cost of the election is too expensive for them.

There are law that prevent corruption in voting within a group which could be complex and inconvenient, making it hard for citizens to vote. Another factor is that there are citizens who would like to participate in elections in other ways other than voting. These citizens, especially those in incumbent-only races or those in non-competitive areas, are not given that opportunity. However, the citizens who want to participate but not in person can now be part of the electoral process using the internet.

 Inequality in the electoral participation has affected the possibility of one voting. This can be seen in the fact that the level of education affects the amount of income, which are the two factors that affect the number of voters’ turnout during the election. Citizens with a higher level of education tend to have high income and therefore higher rate of participation. The inequalities that affect voters to either vote or not are; racial, age, income and gender distortions. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 steered to an escalation in the amount of African Americans who turned out to vote and consequently the gap separating the blacks and whites in the south being registered reduced to close to less than ten points. In terms of who votes, Chapter 9 says, “In the main, turnout is higher for whites than for nonwhites…. Men and women, however, say they vote at roughly the same rate”.

Despite there being a higher turnout for whites, African Americans are likely to donate to campaigns, and play a part in other ways. Furthermore, the lack of Asian Americans and Latinos participation could be due to languages differences, cultural variability, level of education and income. Being an Asian American and having Asian American family, I can back up the fact that lots of Asian Americans don’t vote due to a language barrier. Even though men and women vote at the same rate, men are more likely to run for elected office, donate to campaigns and discuss politics because of the common opinion that politics is a ‘man’s domain’. Another form of distortion is the income distortion whereby more people with more money turn out to vote, donate to campaigns and participate in several ways as compared to those with low income.  This is because they have more resources at their disposal and better education.

Under the age distortion, the old are more likely to participate in elections as compared to the young citizens this might be due to the transitions in life among the younger citizen and therefore more movement from one place to another.Paradox voting is when a single vote does not affect the outcome, yet the citizen is investing time and sources into what seems like there’s no value in voting. When the welfare of the individual is promising, they are more likely to be motivated to vote.

But if the costs and time management prevail over the benefits, people are less likely to be motivated to vote. Why vote if you have to take time off work, get to the polls, or put in effort if it doesn’t change anything? The paradox of voting discourages many people from voting. The number of voters declined in America despite the easy registration process. Electronic registration and passing of laws that enables those that have been previously discriminated to register as voters were started so as to reduce the number of unregistered voters but still voter turnout is low. Finally, the government can sometimes cause the variations in the possibility of people voting in that the government is more responsive to those groups that participate in the electoral process. The government achieves this by placing restraints on participation or making some participations compulsory, for example, voting.

This is advantageous because it leads to an increase in the fairness of the system even though problems such as intimidation, unaware public and vote fraud have not been fully solved. Results of Paradox of votingThose voters who are politically well-informed use cues are more probable to vote reasonably. Some voters are rational but not inconsiderate in that the voters can notice a benefit if others like them are benefited.

Therefore the voter will prefer casting a vote for a chance of influencing the outcome, no matter how small it might be.  Those who are more likely to abstain from voting include; Younger, less educated, less socially connected, less residential stability (E.g. college students), Low political efficacy and government trust, Political independent / non-partisan. This is due to their concept of higher costs and lowers perceived benefits. However, those who think voting has lower costs and greater perceived benefits from fulfilling the democratic process which is more important than any individual include; College educated, 40+ years old, employed homeowners have enough information, those involved in social networks (religion, community, etc.

), strong partisans, those with relatively greater interest in politics and those more likely to be contacted/ mobilized (likely voters). Those with greater perceived benefits are likely to turn out to cast votes so as to increase the chances of the candidate who is likely to make the group gain the benefits such as policies and taxes. EconomyPeople vote in their own interest and therefore any project that seems to have more benefit a small group and is a small expense to the others will be voted against. For instance, most people were against Obamacare because they were in fear that they might be overtaxed. Obamacare is a health program for the uninsured hence benefiting only the uninsured.Factors influencing a citizen’s choice of candidate in an election.Voting cues are when people vote for the same party candidate, a candidate who’s helped with government or community assistance, or candidates who share similar characteristics to the voter.

Voting cutes are “easily interpretable pieces of information”. Campaigns excite people to vote for a particular candidate and therefore resembles the advertisements of products and services. Therefore most people will prefer getting information via voting cues than obtaining information on the candidate. To reiterate with, on November 24th, Professor McDaniel discussed with the class that voter’s social identity, the ethnicity, class background, religion as well as their physical appearance affects who they will select in an election. These voting cues also include the voter’s economic class, gender, and race.

The candidates often gear campaigns message using the theme of similarity to a certain group and cater for them so as they can bring in the loyalty of that group. Therefore the group is likely to be reminded through campaigns that they are the candidates’ best choice and at the end vote for the candidate. Party identification and mental attachment to a particular political party is a direct influential element on the voters. The voters will also be influenced by the affiliation with a political view or thought. Citizens usually learn the party affiliation at an early time in life perhaps from friends or family, and political background when a citizen grows up. Party identification helps the members gain trusted information on the political party and therefore inspires the affiliates to participate in voting.

Also, it is an estimator of the how the citizens will be voting. Moreover, the performance in national economy influence the voters to answer back accordingly. Candidates who at the time of elections were holding particular political office and are seeking reelection have little chances of losing an election unless the voters shift allegiance. The voters normally reward those who made the country prosper by electing them and then punish those who failed the state. Therefore an incumbent who was in office when the economy was doing poorly, will still enjoy the support from those who are identified with their party but is most likely not to gain support from the independents. Based on voting, campaigns, and elections, elections is not an operational part of democratic depiction in America since citizens are supposed to choose freely and determine who will represent them in the government.

The citizens’ participation in election and campaigns should be free choice in that a citizen must not be manipulated or coerced and should be having enough information on the candidate and the parties participating in the election. However, in terms of what I’ve read, I agree with the fact that campaigns do not form equivalent opportunities for candidates hence undermining democracy in America. Finally, the election does not promote deliberation. This can be seen when after election a candidate will triumph with or without discussion which will be hurtful to the minority candidate who might want to convince the majority of voters for their views. To conclude with, voter participation and the factors that influence the voters’ choice should be understood so as to help in campaigning since it is important in creating and spreading the candidate’s message for the purpose of persuading voters.

Also, an election is not an effective part of American democracy and therefore reforms such as ensuring that elections create equal opportunities for candidates. This will ensure that elections’ deliberative quality, an essential standard of campaigns election and voting is not undermined. 


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