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Why are voting rates in the US lower than in Europe?

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

The low participation of citizens in US elections is a fact.

The reason? ....There is no specific one that could explain this electoral apathy. Rather, according to studies and surveys carried out, this phenomenon is attributed to a set of factors, perhaps the main one being the fact that in European countries the State is in charge of registering new voters in the national registers, while in the United States , it is the individual responsibility of the people to register personally in the registry to have the right to vote.

This situation "per se" lowers participation. By not being registered, the person cannot vote.

Another factor is that Election Day coincides with work hours and on many occasions companies tacitly pressure their employees to attend work. In general, in the rest of the western countries, elections are held on a holiday or on Sundays.

We also find that while direct voting exists in parliamentary countries, in the United States the electoral vote persists, a fact that produces demotivation in the electoral mass, since even when the favorite candidate of a citizen has obtained the greatest number of popular votes, even so can lose, that is to say that the election of the majority is not respected.

Finally we must mention that the laws in the United States contemplate that each State sets the rules prior to each electoral process. This fact produces, among other factors, that in some states photo identification is required to vote, and in others not due to the issue of discrimination. Many voters claim they don't have the $20 it costs to get or renew a license, or I.D., so they sometimes have to sign an affidavit that the person is who they say they are. In addition to this, some States have the habit of changing the electoral circuits, depending on the possibilities of the party that has a majority in the legislature. And so far that has become a habit. In June 2022, the Supreme Court of Justice announced that it will create the mechanisms to end this practice, which, although it does not violate the constitution, creates conditions of little transparency in the electoral processes.

This causes distrust in the voters and also lowers participation.

As can be seen, there are multiple factors that cause low attendance. However, in the last 2 processes, the participation record in the presidential elections has been broken.

North American society knows that it is at the most important moment in its modern history, so it is not surprising that in the next elections in November 2022 and 2024, the record for electoral participation will be broken again.

Raul Alberto Diaz

Journalist Writer

Representative Government Chair

Harvard University

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