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Polling place projection: Apathy wins

November 07, 2017 06:59 PM

MENANDS - What we know for sure about the people who went out to vote on Election Day is that they are in the minority. The truth of the matter is, inside America's polling places, they're surprised if 30-percent of eligible voters show up.

"They're lazy and they don't care and they're ignorant," is how Karen Deblanc, of Menands, described people who elected not to vote.

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Siena College Political Science professor Len Cutler says, "25 to 30-percent will probably be the max," referring to the level of voter participation in an off-year election.

"People will offer reasons as to why they don't vote," Cutler says, "Some of which you may accept, some of which you find to be absurd and preposterous."

Cutler also believes more Americans will come out to vote if the elections were more competitive. For that to happen, he says, gerrymandering needs to be resolved, meaning non-partisans should be the ones to draw up congressional districts.

As for compulsory voting....

"I don't think Americans would tolerate it," Cutler says, "Nor do I think it's a valid approach for us to take in our society."

In Belgium, where voting is compulsory, turnout for their national elections was 87-percent. In Sweden, where voting is not mandatory, 83-percent came to the polls. In Denmark, 80-percent.

The United States ranks 28th on that list after 56-percent voted in the November 2016 presidential election.

"Some places don't have a right to vote," Catherine Mattice of Menands points out, "Maybe these kids grow up (realizing) they have the right to do it or to not do it, and as they get older, they haven't done it, so they just don't do it."

"I don't think you can force anybody to do anything in this country, that's sort of what we were based on," Deblanc added.

 

Credits

Dan Levy

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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