Trending
MOST READ
Best Korean Restaurant

Best Korean Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Day Trips: 10 ways to have fun outside near San Antonio

Day Trips: 10 ways to have fun outside near San Antonio

Outdoor Issue 2014: Who wouldn’t love to take a long trip to the Rocky Mountains or the Adirondacks, but let’s get real: not all of us have time (or the... By Mark Reagan 9/24/2014
Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Chris Perez, husband of slain Tejana icon Selena, tells of romance, suffering

Arts & Culture: In one of the final chapters of his book To Selena, With Love (out March 6), Selena's widower Chris Perez mentions that Abraham Quintanilla, his former father-in-law, once... By Enrique Lopetegui 3/7/2012
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Cover Story

Ten reasons to vote this year ... or not

Photo: Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com, License: N/A

Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Photo by Jeffrey Wright, License: N/A

Photo by Jeffrey Wright

Texas Legislature Representative Joaquín Castro, currently running for U.S. Congress, rallies students at a recent "Debate Night" event at Northwest Vista Community College.



Related stories


And guess who tends to vote? "Generally what we find is that when you have lower voter participation it tends to be those who have a higher socioeconomic status who are over-represented in terms of voting, so you're not getting the full voice of the people," says Patricia Jaramillo, professor of political science at the UTSA College of Public Policy. Having "voice" in government may seem intangible on election day. Over the time horizon, though, lack of voice translates into tangible losses in share of public resources and economic benefits secured for constituents, and the short end of the stick during the construction of policies that favor one interest group at the expense of others. Some things in life really are zero sum.

The myriad factors trending voters toward a general decline in electoral participation in the U.S., and, in fact, across industrial countries worldwide, so far elude consensus among social scientists. It's socioeconomic; it's cultural; it's structural; it's maybe even genetic. Moreover, scant scholarship has been devoted to determining if or how high voter turnout really matters to either a society's ability to function, the life satisfaction of its inhabitants, or even the happiness of active voters.

Back in 1998, a team of researchers led by Daniel Gilbert of the Harvard University Department of Psychology and including Elizabeth Pinel and Stephen Blumberg of the UT Austin Department of Psychology polled voters during the 1990 Texas gubernatorial election (won by George W. Bush), asking how they would feel one month after the election if their candidate had lost. Respondents expected to feel miserable, but in a follow-up one month later the results, "apparently had no effect on the voters' general happiness."

So maybe it doesn't matter after all. Except we at the Current think it does. Just imagine what our country would look like if voter turnout dropped to zero: systemic collapse. So we're presenting a list of 10 reasons why you should get off your sofa and vote. Take your pick.

And in the interest of fairness, we're also enumerating a list of five viable reasons why you might abstain. If none of these five reasons apply to you, refer back to the first list. Then go get in line for your ballot.

1. You Can. Though some white, landowning, church-going males (not Catholics or Jews, of course) enjoyed some local suffrage in Colonial America, it wasn't until 1789 that the first U.S. presidential elections were held; until 1870 that non-whites gained the right to vote; until 1920 that women won suffrage; until the 1930s that most states granted poll access to "paupers"; until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act did away with the remaining Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised southern blacks; and until 1971 that adults under the age of 21 secured a constitutional guarantee of suffrage. And with voter suppression initiatives spreading like mala hierba, if you don't vote those hard-won rights may be rolled back.

Recently in News
  • Mayoral Horse Race During the September 18 city council meeting, before the $2.4 billion Fiscal Year 2015 budget was approved, Mayor Ivy Taylor received thunderous applause from... | 9/24/2014
  • SAPD Didn’t Get Guns from Military Surplus Program After a white police officer shot an unarmed black man in a small St. Louis suburb, a national conversation about race rocketed into a national... | 9/24/2014
  • Panhandling Proposal Lacks Supporters, and Logic Support is dwindling for San Antonio Police Chief William McManus’ proposal to ticket those of us who want to give change or food to a homeless person... | 9/24/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus