14 October 2012
Midterm Exam Question 3
The Importance of Elections as a Linkage Institution and Voting
Linkage institutions can be defined as institutions that connect citizens with the government. Examples of linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media. Elections specifically are supposed to encourage public participation in the selection of governmental officials. Unfortunately, low voter turnout has proved that elections are an imperfect linkage institution. Elections depend on voters to be successful, and some factors that relate to the likelihood of voting include age, education, and race. Although some people underestimate the power of the vote, voter turnout is important to the future stability of the country. Without elections, the United States would not be the same powerful world power that it is today.
To begin, age is one factor that is related to voter turnout. “Young adults are substantially less likely than middle-aged and older citizens to vote” (Patterson 2011, p. 187). Especially with local elections, which only has a small percentage of young adult voter turnout. Fortunately, during the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, voter turnout substantially increased from previous presidential elections. According to the United States Census Bureau, in the 2008 presidential election, 55 percent of eligible African American citizens between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four voted (African Americans, n.d.). The Iraq war was another major factor that increased voter turnout among college-educated youth. Even though numbers increased for young adults, they were still lower than the voting rates of older adults. One reason is because older voters do not have to reregister to vote since they normally live in the same household from one election to the next, compared to younger people who are more likely to move around. Another reason older people vote more is because they have...
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