jump to last post 1-5 of 5 discussions (36 posts)

Low Voter Turnout = Smarter Election Results

  1. GA Anderson profile image83
    GA Andersonposted 3 years ago

    Listening to a couple political pundits discussing a local election result - I heard them agree that the low voter turnout for the election probably helped unseat an incumbent.

    Their logic was that the voters that did bother to vote were probably more-informed voters than would be the case when masses of voters, (probably including a lot of "low-information" voters), are driven to the polls by get-out-the-vote drives.

    Being better informed, these voters would be more likely to cast votes determined by the issues and positions - rather than personalities and mass-media talking points.

    I think I agree... What say you?

    GA

    1. Quilligrapher profile image91
      Quilligrapherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Good morning, my friend.

      What say I? So glad you asked. lol

      I would say, “where is the data?” The conjecture in this case is drivel just to fill air time.

      “The voters that did bother to vote were probably more-informed voters” = an assumption based on ignorance. Voters that did not turn out may be better informed but just lazy, or apathetic, or over confidant, or as is most often the case, indifferent.

      As I see it, the larger the turn out the better it is for democracy.
      http://s2.hubimg.com/u/6919429.jpg

      1. GA Anderson profile image83
        GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        What a pleasant surprise to see you pop in on such a non-data-driven post.

        Got Data! Nope!

        Is it conjecture? Of course it is. As I stated it was a couple of political pundits in a TV interview on PBS's Maryland State Circle show. And it was not a big part of the interview, just a remark or two relative to the question of the low turnout. And no, this was not a 24hr news channel, so I don't think they were just trying to fill airtime.

        But is it drivel? Could be, or not. I did not catch/hear their rational for that opinion, and thus did not provide enough data in the OP to make a safe determination either way. Drivel does sound a bit harsh to me. Couldn't they be wrong without the determination their comments were drivel?

        ... and as for an assumption based on ignorance... well, if you mean ignorance as in not having data to know, then yes, it could be. But if ignorance is meant to imply a lazy lack of effort to know or find out - then I think not. After all, it was a conversation involving political analysis.

        My tepid semi-agreement followed this line of reasoning;

        There were no "big" or kitchen table/personal issues involved to make either candidate a prime-time news story. Or fire-up the average voter - driving them to the polls. ie. abortion, welfare reform, etc.

        On this local level there were no big party apparatus efforts, (media/advertising/bull horns), pushing a "get-out-the-vote" drive.

        Here are a couple not-too-dangerous personal assumptions and perspectives;

        1. There are well-informed voters and there are low-information voters, and there are no-information voters.  My thoughts are that well-informed voters will vote almost every time; low-information voters will vote frequently, but are most likely to vote when an issue has resonated with them, (how do they hear that issue - see above); no-information voters probably seldom vote, but when they do it probably is the result of a get-out-the-vote contact.

        2. Well-informed voters are seldom lazy, apathetic, or indifferent, but I can see instances of "it's-a-lock" confidence keeping them home - maybe.

        So, given the circumstances mentioned in the OP, and elaborated on here, it seems to make sense to me, that on this level the odds are that the majority of those low turn-out voters were probably more-informed voters.

        I'm sure you will agree that a better informed voter will make a better voting decision, right?

        And of course I will agree with you that higher voter turn-out is much better for democracy, but I don't think that negates the reasoning behind my now much firmer agreement with those two pundits.

        Voters in low turn-out elections probably are better informed voters.

        GA

    2. profile image0
      Old Poolmanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      GA - If you ever watch any of the man-in-the-street interviews you can only hope that few if any of the people they question ever vote.

      I'm not sure how these low-information types choose the candidate they vote for.  It could be straight party line voting, hair color, body weight, sex, or any number of things.  It probably would be better if they just didn't bother to vote at all.

      Some voters key in on a single word in a campaign speech such as the word "free."  That "free" word to some voters is a huge motivator.

      We all know that the simple act of requiring voter ID would greatly reduce the total number of votes.  But then if we ban the dead from voting the ACLU would protest and use up valuable TV time with their protests.

      Just think how great it will be when they change the rules to allow voting by phone or email.  There will be way more votes than people eligible to vote.

      I would almost prefer we just gather the candidates into a huge stadium and let them fight it out with their weapons of choice.  The survivors would win the election and we would most likely not see much difference in performance and results.

      1. Credence2 profile image87
        Credence2posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks to GA for another thread of stimulating debate.

        OP, hello, hope that all is well...

        I do not consider myself as a party line voter, but one party tends to represent my views of the world better than the other and those fundamentals defines why I vote the way I do. Am I any different than the religious fundamentalists that are strong GOP voters? These folks have overriding interests and principles that attract them to the GOP platform. BTW,  I consider myself a 'high information' voter.

        Conservatives imply that if fewer of these 'low information' voters had access to the polls, their candidates would be more successful. Well, it is not that simple......

        It has been proven time and time again that the Voter fraud issue is a red herring and that the real goal stated explicitly in both Pennsylvania and Florida by the GOP  is to keep certain demographics that vote for the other side away from the polls.  Its not just the voter ID, but restrictions on early voting and flexibility in casting ballots that benefit certain social-economic groups that do not  have the luxury of setting a great deal of time aside. Ohio got shot down by the courts and other similar attempts in other states deserve the same fate.  Why, because the GOP had no real justification for why increasing the restrictions on time and polling places were necessary.

        It is unconscionable, where is all the angst about absentee voting, which by its very nature is more susceptible to fraud?
        --------------------
        "I would almost prefer we just gather the candidates into a huge stadium and let them fight it out with their weapons of choice.  The survivors would win the election and we would most likely not see much difference in performance and results."

        I could entertain this idea!!!

        1. profile image0
          Old Poolmanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Hello Credence, it has been a long time my friend.
          I personally wish we could just go with a popular vote and get rid of the system that very few, including myself, just don't understand.  How can candidate A get more votes than candidate B and still lost the election?  I guess because he didn't graduate from the Electoral College?
          I also believe we could do just as well throwing darts at a board full of names.  Even with this method it would be business as usual in Washington.  But this method would discriminate against the dead voters so that would never work.
          I'm really looking forward to another whole year of campaign ads and smear campaigns to occupy my time.  As most of us know, little or nothing they promise will come true anyhow.
          Glad you like my idea of a Gladiator type election Credence, we should try it one year and see how it works out.

          1. GA Anderson profile image83
            GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Sorry, just had to jump in on the "electoral collage" note.

            Geez, I am side-tracking my own thread...

            I once had similar thoughts Old Poolman, but I looked into the rational and realities behind it and changed my mind. I think you would too if you dug a little.

            For instance, did you know a popular vote election would make most non-coastal and small states irrelevant to candidates? Would it be Ok for you if the only voters that mattered were those in high-population states, (California, New York, Florida, etc.)?

            Stay tuned folks, I feel another thread coming...

            GA

        2. GA Anderson profile image83
          GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I will let Old Poolman answer you for himself, (I know, how gernerous of me smile )

          Thanks for the kind words. Glad to see you pop in.

          I guess I will have to start a new "low information voter thread - it seems to have hit a nerve with several responders.

          GA

      2. GA Anderson profile image83
        GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        You are in rare form on this one aren't you. A whole basket full of voter/voting points.

        Sometimes the truth is ugly isn't it.

        I agree with many of your points about low-information voters, (judging from other posts in the thread you are not alone in your thoughts), but, let me try to steer this thing back on the road...

        Do you think it is a fair assumption, that generally, (of course there will be exceptions) - voters in a low-turnout election are probably better informed voters? It sounds like you do.

        ps. OMG! Yes, I have seen those man-in-the-street interviews - heaven help us. smile

        GA

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Are you considering "well informed" to equate with "knowledgeable about the issues"?  Your insinuation that a "well informed" voter will be a better voter makes me wonder.  Consider the "information" offered us:

          1. The gay agenda is to take over the world and force everyone into a life of homosexuality and bestiality.

          2.  The CIA and the president mined the twin towers and caused 911, using Muslims as patsies.

          3.  Man has caused every degree of the climate change, and if we don't stop it the US will be under water within 2 years.

          4.  Illegal aliens are good for the country, and cost us nothing.

          5.  Pres. Obama was not born in the US and does not have a birth certificate.

          6.  Excessive "entitlements" are not a problem in the US.  We need to give twice as much to the poor, taking it from the rich and from retirees by cutting SS payments they paid for.

          All are what the "well informed" voter hears - do you really think they will make better voters, casting a vote more wisely than the person voting for skin color or a pleasant sounding voice?

          1. GA Anderson profile image83
            GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            All right Wilderness, you can step down from the soapbox now. Your five minutes are up.

            You are confusing my definition of a "well informed" voter  that is "well informed" by facts and examination, (I bet that's what others think a "well informed" voter is too), with one that that you think is defined as one that is informed by the loudest air horn with the longest lasting air supply.

            ps. That wasn't even a good try

            GA

    3. rhamson profile image76
      rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      We have five commissioners in our county and all but one of them were defeated. The local paper here is pretty good about allowing most to speak their minds on just about any topic. So I think those that voted were at least a little savvy about these guys and what they did in the past four years. Even though the whole board of commissioners are republican and this is a predominantly republican electorate they threw these out. Truth be told that they raised our property taxes twice and our income tax once was the source of our discontent. They pulled a slimy move by raising the taxes on our homes the first time based on old assessments. Where at my rate I paid on $35,000 more than the assessment that came out six months later. The turn out was poor but the right guys got axed. Maybe there was an intelligent air to it after all.

      Now the Governors race it is another thing with an incompetent boob winning the predominant parties nomination. This mishap is the fault of a stupid electorate who are looking to get some free rewards for their support.

      1. GA Anderson profile image83
        GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Now you have done it!

        My local level conversation was a state-level local level, but your example is really local level as in town/city level - and I can certainly give you witness on your description.

        And I like the results you described. Way too many times elections at the level you speak of are decided more by how many friends and co-workers you car-pool to the polls than how many actually affected voters get to the polls. Like you, I have personal experience on this.

        On this level, the "really" local-local,  I might have to qualify my agreement with the low turn-out/smart voter correlation smile

        ps. six "levels" and  five "locals" - hmm... too lazy for a rewrite.

        GA

    4. cjhunsinger profile image71
      cjhunsingerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      GAAnderson

      It would seem to me that to  many voters are voting out of a greed that has nothing to do with freedom. They are voting to either get more welfare, food stamps or Obamaphones. They are voting because a union bribes them, transports them or intimidates them and as some have said, are voting for racially motivated reasons.
      Democracy has very little to do with a free society and, as the Founders understood, would probably fail and return to some form of theocratic or totalitarian rule. Thus a great experiment.
      Democracy is not freedom, it is "--the only road to socialism." Socialism is a one way street to a totalitarian rule, where the vote at best is tokenism.

      1. GA Anderson profile image83
        GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        uhh... but what about the topic question? Would you like to offer another insightful opinion on that?

        "Are voters in low-turnout elections generally likely to be more well-informed voters?"

        Thanks for popping in, new voices are always exciting.

        GA

        1. cjhunsinger profile image71
          cjhunsingerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I gave you my opinion of the voting/democratic process and what it has become. I do not think that low or high really matters. How would you define "well informed."? From what perspective or mindset would an informed voter vote. Am I well informed if I prefer that government take care of me or that I want government to stay within the Constitution. Is a well informed voter educated to the restrictions of the Constitution or one that does not care? Perhaps, you can tell me what a well informed voter is or is not and we can have a more meaningful conversation. Ambiguous questions are meaningless.

  2. lone77star profile image88
    lone77starposted 3 years ago

    GA, I have to disagree. I accept your premise as one small possibility, but it is far more likely that voters are swayed by image and marketing than by facts. Marketing is far from Truth and marketing can "sell" voters on a candidate without real substance.

    People are too easily swayed by image and emotion.

    Take yourself, for instance. I mention something controversial and you say, "conspiracy." You have the attitude that you will never change your mind, just as you feel I can never change my mind on such issues, even though I only recently changed my mind. Facts don't seem to deflect emotion, especially when ego is too heavily invested in an idea.

    I asked for your evidence that such conspiracy had been debunked and you could not tell me of any. Oops! Belief without facts? Or perhaps belief by hearsay and innuendo.

    Too many people belong to a party (Demopublicans or Republicrats) and identify with that party. Identification is the mainstay of Ego. Us versus them. But when it is pointed out that the policies of real substance and impact on the future of America and the world are the same in both parties -- that there is no difference between these two puppet organizations -- the party members merely stare glassy eyed as if they had been told some "conspiracy theory."

    The problem is, conspiracies happen every day. Thousands of them. I teach at a local college, and I had conspiracies in two separate classrooms last week -- student cheating. Having the same answers on a quiz is not surprising, if they are the right answers, but several wrong answers that match become quite suspicious.

    The problem is that people, in general, don't think very critically these days. They have too much ego to admit their blind spots. They don't have a hunger to learn new things. They already "know" everything.

    Motivation to vote, these days, is merely a marketing effect. Just like tempting you to go buy the corporate poison at McDonalds or GMO foods that scientists have found to cause cancer.

    People have become dumbed down by their own arrogant egotism. Learning requires humility and a hunger. Most Americans have forgotten what this is like.

    1. GA Anderson profile image83
      GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Hey guy, glad to hear from you. Even if you couldn't resist the digs and topic-changing jeremiad.

      What say we give it another try?

      Rereading the OP. and then popping down to my response to Quill for elaboration, do you think voters in a low-turnout election are probably more-informed voters?

      You speak of voters being swayed by the images and emotion, and I agree, but what are they swayed by in cases where there is not a lot of either? Or at least not in large enough doses to motivate Joe Blow to get off the couch and vote because of what he didn't see.

      ps. What about that "jeremiad?" New word for me, but it seemed fitting.

      GA

  3. Kathleen Cochran profile image85
    Kathleen Cochranposted 3 years ago

    Why we encourage the uninformed of any party to vote for the sole purpose of voting is beyond me.  Even a few people who go to the trouble to educate themselves on the issues produce a better result than empty-heads who know little more about an election than how to pull a lever.

    To the poster who saw their community unseat a majority of county commissioners:  on the local level when candidates are often running for the first time, it is amazing how often voters will believe the candidate who says what they want to hear.  What they usually don't realize is that if the solution to a problem was as easy as their candidate made you believe, the guy in office would have already fixed the problem.  Your new guy isn't going to be able to do the impossible either - he just doesn't know it yet.

    1. rhamson profile image76
      rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I agree with you. But if you throw the old commissioner out because he did not have any answers, it leads the way to fresh faces to tackle the problem. It is kind of like the Peter Principle. Every man shall rise to his level of incompetence. Once they hit the plateau they stay there until someone else makes a move for them. Unfortunately some of these guys just take up space.

    2. GA Anderson profile image83
      GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Hello Kathleen, glad you joined the conversation. The Politics and Social Issues roster was getting a bit thin.

      You wrote:
      "Why we encourage the uninformed of any party to vote for the sole purpose of voting is beyond me.  Even a few people who go to the trouble to educate themselves on the issues produce a better result than empty-heads who know little more about an election than how to pull a lever."

      Sounds like you might also support a requirement that voters be property owners...

      Then you wrote:
      To the poster who saw their community unseat a majority of county commissioners:  on the local level when candidates are often running for the first time, it is amazing how often voters will believe the candidate who says what they want to hear.  What they usually don't realize is that if the solution to a problem was as easy as their candidate made you believe, the guy in office would have already fixed the problem.  Your new guy isn't going to be able to do the impossible either - he just doesn't know it yet.

      Now there are some words of wisdom I can agree with. From the local level right up to the President. I bet  George H. Bush, (tax increase), and Pres. Obama, (Gitmo), would agree with you too.

      GA

  4. Kathleen Cochran profile image85
    Kathleen Cochranposted 3 years ago

    "rise to his level of incompetence" - truer words were never spoken!  Personally, I always vote against an incumbent.  Let another crook have a chance.

    1. rhamson profile image76
      rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I am right with you on that. I have a principle I follow until I see some change. If you're in (in office that is), you're out (of office that is). Simple and I hope effective.

      1. profile image0
        Old Poolmanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Sometimes a "fresh look" at an old problem does produce a solution.  Many who have been in a job too long develop tunnel vision and continue to do the same thing over and over and failing every time.  Some fresh eyes and minds not hung up on the old way of doing things can get things accomplished.
        I believe term limits would be the number one thing we need to fix our failing government.

        1. rhamson profile image76
          rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this
          1. profile image0
            Old Poolmanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            rhamson - Thanks for that link and the very interesting video.  I had no idea about Article 5 allowing citizens to write amendments to our Constitution.  Thanks for the education.

            1. wilderness profile image95
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              But it doesn't do that.  It allows citizens to convince their state legislature to take the matter to congress - citizens cannot do it themselves.

              A few years ago, the citizens of Idaho voted in term limits for their state legislators during the November general elections.  A simple law, not a state constitution change. 

              The legislature went on Christmas vacation, and immediately (as in less than a week) after returning passed a new law negating the will of the people.  So much for convincing state legislatures that term limits are a good thing.  Or that the will of the people overrides their own personal desires for long term power, for that matter.

              1. profile image0
                Old Poolmanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Darn, I thought that was too good to be true.

                I guess from what you are saying that term limits is nearly impossible?

                Could we possibly make the minimum age 90 years old for anyone running for Congress?

                1. wilderness profile image95
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  I'm not sure "nearly" properly describes the problem.  It takes 3/4 of the states to change the constitution, and no legislator is (apparently) honest enough to allow a term limit law to stand on it's own merits unless it is a part of the constitution and thus untouchable by congress.  Certainly it was a very quick and easy task to undo the law the people wanted and voted into place in Idaho.

                  1. profile image0
                    Old Poolmanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    There have been any number of laws on the ballots voted on and approved by citizens in several states that were later overturned by Judges.  It would appear that States Rights are a thing of the past.

                    We voters in Arizona approved SB1070 which was an attempt to tighten up our border with Mexico.  Of course this bill was greatly distorted by the media and frowned on in many other states.  But a few other states wrote their own similar bills they planned to put on their ballots.  We now understand that the Feds didn't want the border tightened up so they had to overturn our bill.  There was nothing in our bill that was not already written in the Federal Immigration Laws, other than the fact we intended to enforce the law withing the borders of our state.

                    This loss of States Rights should be very alarming to every citizen in this country.  Without term limits it will be impossible to break the chain of corruption that exists in Washington today.  We need to clean house as best we can in the upcoming elections.

          2. GA Anderson profile image83
            GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            We already have the ability to impose term limits - it's called our vote.

            I see a term limit law supporter the same as I do a fat person seeking the magic diet pill - something to do the work they aren't willing to do.

            GA

            1. rhamson profile image76
              rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I don't know that this has worked very well. In Australia they have compulsory voting. Maybe that could be a way to go to get some things sorted out that the career politicians have put in place. Unfortunately in our case we live in a freer country that gives you the right to not exercise your right to vote and more directly, abdicates the running of the country to others whether they be politicians or misdirected political parties.

              I like your analogy of the fat pill and the dieter as the lazy voter in America who has already given up and lets the government get more bloated as it can without any second thought. Maybe the pill might help. Trouble is what is in the pill?

              1. GA Anderson profile image83
                GA Andersonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                You are right - it has not worked. We have the power, but it takes effort to use it, and that we don't says a lot about our laziness as a society. New age folks can ridicule the "old time" characteristics of a work ethic, striving for what you want, earning your way, etc. etc. as passe', but a snapshot of today's society; texting instead of speaking, instant gratification in all things, info in pictures instead of reading, etc. etc. proves that we have become lazy and over-indulged.

                And I demand a pill or a five-minute exercise to fix it! It's not fair, I want it, why can't I have it?

                Back to a serious note... compulsory voting... I don't see the benefit.

                But maybe we could do a first Amendment amendment -  if you don't vote, you are not allowed to complain.

                GA

                1. rhamson profile image76
                  rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  If you don't vote they get everything they want.

  5. maxoxam41 profile image77
    maxoxam41posted 3 years ago

    Intelligent people will abort the governmental attempt to enslave the people by NOT voting. If you don't vote, you show your dissatisfaction. If nobody votes (my dream) who will access to the presidential seat none of those thugs!

 
working