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Why Do So Few People Vote in the U.S.?
ISSUE 251
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Two Female Employees Sacked Over Islamic Dress

UK Parliamentarians Put Focus On Somaliland

Analysis: International Experts Call For Recognizing Somaliland

Somalia’s Islamists and government delegation reach agreements

New Name And New Office For Child Right Organisation

Eleven Nations Feed Somali War Build-Up - Experts

The California Wellness Foundation Announces 2006 California Peace Prize Honorees

Regional Affairs

Islamists Ban Smoking In Southern Somalia

ICRA – A New School For Orphaned And Underprivileged Girls

Kenya Wants UN To Lift Arms Ban On Somalia

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Muslim Wins Congress Seat

Somali Vote May See First Muslim In Congress

Kenyan Muslims Criticize US 'Lies' About Attacks

Poor Nations Ranked As Some Of Most Corrupt

Man Acquitted In Fake Somali Currency Case

Police Issue Two Warrants For London, Ont., Man Sought In Shooting

The Dollar's Full-System Meltdown

Nairobi Shrugs Off Terrorism Fears

VOA English Service Ambassador Cohen Talks About U.S.- Africa Relations

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

A U.S. Security Agenda In Africa – Part I

Rwandese Business Leaders are keen to invest in Somaliland

Desire For Electronic Entertainment In Africa

Why Do So Few People Vote in the U.S.?

Africa: France Increased Arms Sales And Intervention

US Plans To Scale Up Military Presence In The Horn Of Africa

Stars' Good Intentions Put Under Microscope

Somalia conflict to spread?

Food for thought

Opinions

Adopt Villages, Not Pet Children

The Illegal Incarceration Of Hawa Hussein Handule

Somaliland Must Defend Freedom, Civil Liberties, Democracy & Human Rights In The Horn Of Africa

There Will Be No Anschluss Of Somaliland Into A Greater Somalia Reich

Headscarf: A Choice For Women And A Signal For Modesty

The Threats Of The Islamists Should Not Sidetrack Somaliland


By CALVIN WOODWARD

Raul Merly, right, reads his sample ballot as he waits with others to cast their early vote for Tuesday's election at an early voting place in downtown Denver, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006. Confronted by a lengthy list of proposed laws, candidates and other questions, thousands have voted early for November 7th election. For those who have waited there could be long lines on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

WASHINGTON , November 05, 2006 – Government of the people, by the people, will be missing a lot of people Election Day.

It's a persistent riddle in a country that thinks of itself as the beacon of democracy. Why do so few vote?

Compare U.S. voting with foreign voting and it's not a pretty sight. Americans are less apt to vote than are people in other old democracies, in new ones, in dangerous places, dirt poor ones, freezing cold ones, stinking hot ones and highly dysfunctional ones.

Even that theocratic "axis of evil," Iran, has bragging rights over the United States in this regard. So does chaotic Iraq, where an estimated 70 percent of voters cast ballots in December parliamentary elections.

The pitched battle for control of the House and Senate in Tuesday's election has raised hope that voting will rise above its usual anemic levels. But competitive races are not reliable predictors of turnout and doubts exist about whether Republicans will be as fired up as Democrats and whether independents will vote with their feet or their seat.

As in other aspects of American life, the people who run elections work to make things easier for everyone. Yet they achieve little more than blips in increased turnout, if that.

Participation, paradoxically, is highest in states where making it to a polling station can be misery on a wintry day. Minnesota, Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming are among states that lead the nation in getting voters out, and they put the Sunbelt to shame.

About 40 percent of U.S. citizens of voting age population cast ballots in nonpresidential year elections.

Despite the competitive nature of the 2000 presidential race and the certainty of having a new chief executive no matter who won, just more than half turned out. In 2004, a polarized year when everyone remembered the near dead heat four years earlier, turnout climbed over 60 percent _ edging a little closer to the likes of Iran, Iceland and Somalia.

Source: The Associated Press (AP)

 


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