Q:

What are some reasons for low voter turnout?

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Quick Answer

Low voter turnout is generally attributed to the belief by voters that their votes will matter very little and will have no affect on public policy; political disengagement is also a reason for low voter turnout. Voter turnout is also effected by election type, with lower turnout for primary elections, local elections and off-year elections for state legislators. National elections tend to achieve a higher voter turnout; for example, in the U.S. presidential election of 2008, voter turnout was 61 percent, according to Wikipedia.

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Demographics can also have an affect on voter turnout. Older people are more likely to vote than younger people, while Asian and Latino voters are less likely to vote than white and African American voters. Since 1980, women turn out in greater numbers to the polls than men, although older men are more apt to vote than older women. In fact, 72.2 percent of men aged 75 years or older voted in 2008, according to Fairvote.org.

Income and socioeconomic status can also affect voter turnout. Wealthier people vote much more often than those with lesser incomes. In the 2008 election for president, just 41 percent of voters making less than $15,000 per year voted while 78 percent of those making $150,000 per year or year turned out to cast their votes, according to Fairvote.org.

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