Our mysterious political process
Voting is one of the most important things you can do as an American citizen, yet just 61 percent of the voting-age population voted in the 2016 election, according to the U.S.Census Bureau. While there is no one answer to why people skip the voting booth, one reason may be how confusing many of us find our political system. “Caucus,” “Primary,” “Electoral college,” “Lame duck”—what do these terms even mean, and for the love of Pete how did water fowl get involved?
These are questions we may be too embarrassed to ask, assuming that everyone else already knows and that we’d look dumb by admitting we don’t know the difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate. On the contrary; we talked to political experts about the questions they get asked the most and what they consider the basics that every U.S. citizen needs to understand. Discover the U.S. Citizenship questions most Americans get wrong.
Why do I need to vote?
Let’s start with the most important question and one legal scholars hear a lot, says Sam Nelson, PhD, chair of the political science department at the University of Toledo and author of Beyond the First Amendment. After all, if you know your state always votes red or blue then what does your one vote matter? “People should remember that there are a lot more races on the ballot besides the president, including offices and legislation that will make a big impact on your local community,” he says. Plus it’s important to exercise your right to vote, a right our country has fought hard to maintain. Perhaps your one individual vote won’t be the tie breaker but taken all together, votes are powerful and the way we interact with our political system, he adds. These 14 quotes about Democracy will make you want to get out and vote.