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A Reminder That We Do a Terrible Job of Managing Our Democracy

Wide Demographic Divides Between  Nonvoters and Likely VotersAmong the numerous deficiencies our democracy has is the fact that the people who vote don’t actually represent the country as a whole. Pew Research shows just how big this divide is.

Adults who likely won’t be voting this year tend to be much younger, poorer, ethnically diverse, and more liberal than the people who likely will vote this cycle.

They are many causes for the pathetic overall turnout in this country. Much of it is the result of bad government policies. Some were actively adopted to reduce the number of people who are voting.

Felony disenfranchisement rules combined with how the drug war has been executed is a core part of the new Jim Crow. These have been very effective at preventing numerous minorities from taking part in our democracy.

Voting ID laws disadvantage young people who are more likely to move around and the poor. Even if the cost of acquiring the ID cards and the necessary documents to get the IDs seems small, the cost in time can be significant. People living pay check to pay check can’t often afford to take off a few days to track down their documents and go to the DMV.

Another big part of the problem is we simply refuse to embrace reform you should expect in a 21st century democracy.

We disgustingly still don’t have a guaranteed right to vote in our Constitution. We don’t have a fully integrated system for automatically registering citizens to vote. Many places don’t have same day registration. Election day is not a national holiday. We don’t assure no one will lose money if they want to vote, with mandatory paid time off to vote.

Finally, our stupid election designs are practically made to promote apathy.

Our idiotic electoral college often makes adults in many states feel their vote for President doesn’t matter. Similarly, our gerrymandered single member districts in the House means most races aren’t really contested. Other, better election system’s don’t have these problems

Step one to fixing the problem is admitting we have a serious problem. On a day that is all about our democracy, we should remember we are doing a poor job managing it.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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