Voter turnout within different states significantly influences the results of the elections. When it comes to voting, such a factor as voter eligibility is considered. Among various provinces, the number of people who can legally vote differs. In Texas, throughout decades, voter turnout has been lower in comparison to the other states. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the reasons that lead to low voter turnout rates in Texas through specific examples and data.
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The voting-eligible population (VEP) is one of the integral aspects to consider in the analysis of voter turnout rates. VEP eliminates ineligible voters based on regulations and leaves out the portion of the state’s population that has the legal right to participate in the polls (McKenzie, 2016). Thus, the number of people who can vote and have an impact on the results of the elections directly depends on the state laws.
For example, during the presidential elections in the US in 2016, the voting-eligible population in Texas constituted around 17,5 million people (McKenzie, 2016). However, the results of the voter turnout showed that slightly more than half of the eligible citizens participated in the process. At that year, more than 2 million people did not register, and more than 6 million people who completed registration did not turn out (McKenzie, 2016). One can argue that the big size of VEP does not imply the high percentage of voter turnout in the state.
One of the reasons for the averted turnouts in Texas lies in the laws for registration. The state imposes a problematic process for the voter to register for participation in elections’ polls. Those who are willing to fill in the ballot need to register not later than 30 days before the official election’s date. Also, there is no automatic voter registration in Texas, which adds a burden for many citizens. For instance, during the 2016 presidential election, strict ID requirements deterred more than half a million eligible voters from registering (“Political Charge,” 2018). Hence, a challenging and rigorous registration process represents one of the causes of low voter turnout in the chosen state.
Another possible reason can be traced to the ethnic composition of Texas. The Hispanic population in the United States is growing, and the rates are very high in Texas, where it constitutes more than 35% of the state’s population. It implies that a significant chunk of VEP consists of Hispanic representatives (Morrow, 2015). Studies claim that voter turnout is dramatically lower for the Hispanic population in Texas in comparison to the voters from other ethnic groups (Morrow, 2015).
One of the possible reasons for that lies in the long history of not considering the voices and demands of this population group. Hispanics formed a perception that their voices would not make any difference because society views them as a minority group. Another explanation is that the bigger part of the Hispanic population is of young age, which also minimizes the chance of them participating in the polls (Hall, 2018). Thus, the presence of a substantial part of the Hispanic population in Texas lowers the state’s voter turnout.
The next factor that also influences the voter turnout in Texas is that the dominating party within the state is Republican. Since 1994, no Democratic Party representative won the elections for the state office (“Political Charge,” 2018). Throughout this period, the attempts taken by the Democrats to change the situation were not active enough to motivate people to express their voices. With the absence of vigorous campaigns and with a long period without changes and without the community being heard, people are less likely to go and vote for the ideas they support (“Political Charge,” 2018). Consequently, the dominance of the Republican Party in Texas for more than two decades also makes a mark on the rates of people who show up to vote.
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Scholars offer various solutions for the state of Texas to increase voter turnout in future elections. One of the strategies is to implement automatic voter registration and decrease the number of days for the voter to register before the ballots. Creating more of polling spots can also have a favorable effect on the rates of actual voters (McKenzie, 2016). Another solution can be encouraging more people who are eligible voters to get their ID so that this issue would not prevent them from expressing their opinion (“Political Charge,” 2018).
Minimizing the educational gap between the Hispanic population and other groups, and listening to their voices and needs can help inspire more people to give their votes (Morrow, 2015). Implementing those plans in Texas can provide a rise in voter turnout and can give the state’s population a chance to be heard.
In conclusion, among other states, Texas has stably shown low voter turnout throughout the last years. Only half of the voting-eligible population tends to arrive at the polls, which is a very low indicator. Based on the findings, one can say that the major reasons for low voter turnout in Texas are the demographics of the state, rigorous regulations for the voting registration, and the governance of the Republicans. Increasing the number of registered voters in Texas and of those who make their choice on the election day will stimulate the political process and make a difference.
Hall, A. (2018). Why is it so hard to engage Latino voters? They’re young – And historically neglected. Web.
McKenzie, J. (2019). Voter turnout in Texas: Can it be higher? Web.
Morrow, S. S. (2015). Causes of low voter turnout of the Hispanic population in southwest Texas. Web.
Political Charge: Why Texas voter turnout is so low and what can be done to reverse it. (2019). Web.