Despite political intrigue, voter turnout is low

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's almost boring to watch television shows about fictional political intrigue -- it can't hold a candle to the real thing this election year.

Despite the controversy over both candidates' character issues, way too many of us don't care enough to vote.

According to a WalletHub study, not many of us want to get involved in the political process, especially during the vital primary elections which resulted in the nominations of our two current candidates.

The numbers aren't good.

In the 2014 midterm elections, 15 of the first 25 statewide primary elections reported overall turnout of only 14.8 percent, compared to 18.3 percent in 2010.

It's a downward trend since the 1960s, and the U.S. ranks near the bottom in tracking of votes in democratic nations.

WalletHub blames the lack of civic education in schools, with large proportions of the public failing even simple knowledge tests such as knowing whether one's state requires identification in order to vote.

And despite the ideal of equality in the voting booth, more affluent people are over-represented at the polls.

During the 2008 presidential election, only 41 percent of eligible voters making less than $15,000 a year turned out to vote, compared to 78 percent of those making $150,000, according to the Center for Voting and Democracy. Is it any wonder economic policy tends to favor wealthier Americans?

Nebraska is in the middle of the pack as well as the middle of the country when it comes to political participation.

Using seven key indicators, ranging from "percentage of registered voters in the 2012 presidential election," to "total political contributions per adult population," Nebraska ranked 27th in political engagement among young people aged 18-24 and 12th in political engagement among the elderly, for a total score of 35.43 percent.

Whatever the outcome of the election a week from today, we have only ourselves to thank, or to blame.

Check out the complete WalletHub study here.

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