This election cycle a lot of people are getting very involved in politics. This has made me ask, why aren’t more people involved?
That is a very complicated question. The first, and most influential reason I think, is that people feel like politicians don’t have their interests in mind. This is probably why involvement has gone up so much. There are some candidates who are becoming the voice of people who have not been heard.
Another big reason is that people do not believe that they make a difference. This one, I struggle with myself. We really need to make changes to the electoral system so that every voice is heard and heard equally. ( If you don’t know what I am referring to, look up “electoral college”).
Another big problem is when a person’s life gets in the way. It isn’t that politics are not important, but that something I their own lives has to take precedence. Usually this is because they do not have the freedom to be somewhere art the prescribed time. This disproportionately affects people working unusual hours. Often these positions are low- paying jobs. These are the positions where the employee has very little influence over their schedule. In many businesses, someone must be present 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This means that someone must work on election day, getting time off for other, more influential events, such as caucuses and local elections is perhaps even more difficult.
Is it really surprising then, that these are the people who have very low voter turnouts? These are the people who would benefit the most from things like raising the minimum wage, but they are the least able to influence it.
Some places have, in part, tried to solve this. Washington state sends ballots I the mail, along with a official information book with background on candidates and issues. These can be returned anytime before the end of the election day. This is an amazingly simple and elegant solution.
In order to get people involved, not only do we need to engage them emotionally, but we also need to make sure they have the access to make their voices heard.