Research Design Example

Topics: Voter turnout, Elections, Election Pages: 9 (3340 words) Published: April 7, 2013
Research Design
U.S voting rates in comparison to other Industrial Nations.
Have you ever sat around and wonder why voter turnout throughout the United States is so low? Did you ever sit and think that maybe there are different procedures and processes our government could come up with to make going to the polls a civil duty that more people would show up for? If you are one of those select people, than allow me to introduce and emphasize my research design topic to you. It seems like every year all you hear about leading up to the election are advertisements such as; “get out and vote!”, “increase voter turnout”, “your vote matters”, etc. The reason our country is advertising quotes such as those, is because our voter turnout is extremely low in comparison to other countries.

I believe that studying the voter turnout rates in the USA in comparison to turnout rates in other countries is an important topic because, if you look at the statistics of voter turnout by country percentages, the USA is ranked at the bottom. I am doing my research design on this topic to better understand why the USA has such low turnout rates; as well as I would like to research what we can do to improve our voter turnouts on Election Day. This is important to understand and learn from because, without vast majority and/or increased turnout at the polling places, how can our nation be upset and argue about how controlled they believe our government is if most of them never come out on Election Day? Other nations have a vast majority as voter turnout whereas we do not.

Some major problems with getting citizens to vote come from the process people have to go through just to place a vote for the more favored candidate. A citizen is able to register to vote starting at the legal age of 18, to place a vote citizens across the country have to vote at their registered polling place only, if the person will not be available during Election Day, than they have the option to place an absent-tee vote that of which has to be submitted within a specific time period. America makes voting too much of an inconvenience in which case shows extreme effects on voter turnout. In other industrialized countries, they are required by law to vote. It is not a given choice, or right to vote, however it is law. This is because they follow a voting strategy called compulsory voting. Particularly the voting technique of compulsory voting is a mandatory voting law; this law is practiced in the highest percentage voting nations ("International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance" 4).

My overall theory for this particular research design is simple; United States citizens have complete and total freedom and control of voting, which then makes them less likely to vote during elections than those citizens in countries that use a compulsory voting technique of sorts. The best way to further explain my theory is to first demonstrate the literature review. Literature Review

The problem
The article written by T. E. Patterson “The Vanishing Voter”, presents an examination of the decline in voter turnout in the United States that has taken place from 1960 to 2000. It explores the possible reasons for this decline as well as the implications of this process. The period from 1960 to 2000 marks the longest ebb in voter turnout in the nation's history Turnout was nearly 65 percent in 1960 but fell in each of the five succeeding presidential elections. It rose by one percentage point in 1984 but then fell by three points in 1988. Although analysts viewed that drop with alarm, the warning bells really sounded in 1996, when more Americans stayed home than went to the polls on Election Day. The author suggests that the decline is a sign of the decreasing interest of the U.S. public in politics, particularly among younger voters. Patterson also discusses other declines in voter turnout in U.S. history (Patterson, T. E.).

In the United States, voter turnout...

Cited: Aman, A. (2008). Vote counting methods. Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Retrieved from
"Compulsory Voting." International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (2012): 4. Web. 13 Sep 2012. <>.
Fullerton, A. S., & Borch, C. (2008). Reconsidering Explanations for Regional Convergence in Voter Registration and Turnout in the United States, 1956–2000. Sociological Forum, 23(4), 755-785. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2008.00093.x
Lapidos, Juliet. "Doing Democracy Right." Slate. (2008): n. page. Web. 13 Sep. 2012. <>.
Morlan, R. L. (1984). Municipal vs. National Election Voter Turnout: Europe and the United States. Political Science Quarterly, 99(3), 457
Patterson, T. E. (2002). The Vanishing Voter: Why Are the Voting Booths So Empty?. National Civic Review, 91(4), 367
Roberts, Daniel Steven, "Why We Don 't Vote: Low Voter Turnout in U.S. Presidential Elections" (2009). University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects.
Singh, S. (2011). How Compelling is Compulsory Voting? A Multilevel Analysis of Turnout. Political Behavior, 33(1), 95-111. doi:10.1007/s11109-010-9107-z
Taylor, E. C. (2011). Political Cynicism and the Black Vote. Harvard Journal Of African American Public Policy, 173-10.
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