13 thoughts on “Blog 4: Political Geography

  1. It seems like there is always a big campaign to get people out and voting in elections, especially this year when former President Clinton visited the University of Arkansas as part of the Get Out the Vote Rally. It is interesting to see in the top right picture that Arkansas was ranked one of the lowest voter turnout states. From people I’ve talked with it seems that a common misconception of the term “voter turnout” is that it means, for example, a certain percent of the entire population showed up to the polls. Unfortunately this is a dangerous misconception because it doesn’t allow one to fully understand how low that percentage is. Voter turnout is not based on the entire population, but rather it is more closely based on those eligible to vote. It is not just those underage who are not counted in voter turnout, but also convicted felons who may have been stripped of voting privileges. Once one understands that it is not a percent of the entire population, but a percentage of the percent that is actually voting, the realization of how few people are helping to decide the future of the country is astonishing.

    In regards to voter turnout, it is interesting to note that one of the top reasons for not voting was being too busy, yet unemployed persons were less likely to vote than those employed. I assume they are too busy searching for jobs. It is unfortunate that some demographics are less likely to vote than others because it only means that they will not be adequately represented. This is perhaps even more unfortunate in proportional representation systems where each vote is less likely to be wasted. The whole purpose of proportional representation systems is to help represent minority groups.

    It’s surprising to find out that women are generally more likely to vote than men, and they are certainly well represented in this week’s blog post. The franchise has increased over the years here in the United States, and many other countries allow women’s suffrage as well. The bottom left picture is quite captivating with the blank stare from the woman on the right. She and all the others there look very proud to be participating in the election. India’s elections must be a frightening ordeal for poll workers with its rapidly increasing population.

    The world map on the left showcasing how states rank in regards to each other is quite fascinating. I was not aware that India stood out as the most democratic state in its immediate vicinity, which is impressive given its sheer size. North Korea is certainly of one the darkest red spots on the map, and what is interesting is how green its counterpart South Korea is. According to the map, South Korea is actually on the same level as the United States. I am interested in knowing exactly what the criteria for assigning colors are because, despite both being listed as a full democracy, South Korea and the United States fall slightly behind Canada.

  2. The top left photograph shows three Middle Eastern women proud of the fact that they have just voted. They are all wearing hijab, the traditional headdress. They are showing off the blue election stain, which is used to prevent double voting. The other photograph of the Indian women shows them after voting because they have an election stain as well as some type of voting identification card. Together these photographs are significant because in many countries of the world women have not been given the right to vote. The women shown not only go out to vote on Election Day, but they demonstrate the fact that they have just voted in spite of the threat of being killed by other radical factions.

    The world map is interesting because it is proportioned to show various countries and a breakdown about the personality of each country to vote based on a scale of one to ten. Zero to four was the most authoritarian regimes and the least likely to allow full voting participation. Four to six represent hybrid regimes, six to eight represents flawed democracy countries and eight to ten represents full democratic countries. Even though the United States would be considered the fullest democratic nation, their voting right was rated in the second highest category. Canada, Greenland, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, all four Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, and Chile were all listed higher than the United States. I was not surprised that Saudia Arabia and North Korea were among the most authoritative, but I was surprised that Russia was listed as a hybrid regime in the middle at the four to five range.

    The chart that shows actually voting in America is very insightful. It shows the Presidential elections of 2008 where 64% of voting age Americans voted including 65.7% of women and 61.5% of men. This was interesting because for such a long time in American history women were not allowed to vote but in 2008 more women voted than men. My favorite was the one that shows the ten states with the highest and lowest voter turnout. Arkansas had 53.8% voter turnout, which was fourth from the bottom. Two other states near the bottom were Texas and New York. Texas had a 53.8% turnout, which was sixth from the bottom, and New York had a 58.8% turnout, which was the 8th state from the bottom. New Hampshire had a 71.2% turnout, which was the 2nd highest. New Hampshire is the home state of the first Presidential primary. Iowa, which had a 70.2% turnout, host the first Presidential caucus each year. Both of these states generate much higher national news coverage during each Presidential year. The chart shows an interesting trend about voter turnout in relation to annual family income. The more money a family makes the higher percentage of voter turnout.
    Another trend to note, is the higher level of education, the higher level of turnout for voting.

    In conclusion, as we go through history more and more women, who are allowed to vote, are continuing to come out and vote. No matter what the threat or political geography women are proud to voice their opinion.

  3. Professor Davidson brought up a good point in class the other day in that many people are quick to criticize the political system in the United States. There are many flaws in the United States political system. However the more I study history, past and present, the more I begin to cherish the privileges I take for granted daily in the United States. I’m lucky to be able to choose to vote or to not vote. I am lucky to be able to vote for whoever I want without fear of being attacked at the polls. I have never met these women in the pictures shown above, but I feel connected to them. I feel connected to them in a sense that I share their pride in that they voted. The two pictures are quite different, and yet the same. The picture on the top left is most likely from a Middle Eastern country, the women covered in the hijab. The women on the bottom left are most likely from India, the religious forehead markings leading me to assume so. The women in the two pictures are from two completely different countries, their cultures varying in human rights and cultural normalities. I do not know who was on the ballots when these women went to vote. I do not know if there was five choices on the ballot or one. All I know is that they voted despite the fact that in those countries the possibility of violence at the voting polls is more real than not.

    I was surprised to see that in the statistics shown on the picture, the two age groups that showed up to the polls most in the 2008 presidential elections was 55-64 and 65-74. I was surprised because I remember a lot of buzz about the 2008 election being a ‘younger’ election. President Obama had celebrities at conventions and there was a lot of celebrity-endorsed voting campaigns encouraging younger citizens to vote. I imagine there was several issues on the ballot that particularly concerned those two age ranges. I was also surprised to see that marital status showed up on the statistics. I never thought that whether one was married, divorced, widowed, had never been married affected whether one voted or not. I wondered why married people showed up at 69.9% and never married people showed up to the polls at 53.5%. That was all very interesting to me. Also, I saw that Arkansas showed up as one of the lowest voter turnout states. I will admit living in Northwest Arkansas, a place that is more affluential than other parts of the state, has limited my knowledge of how others view voting and politics in Arkansas. I come from Bentonville which is a rapidly growing town, yet still small enough that everyone discusses politics and shows up to the polls. I wish I could understand more behind why Arkansas had one of the lower voter turnouts.

  4. The leaders of a country are either elected or appointed by elected officials. The majority of the western world is either a full or flawed democracy. The rest of the world is either a hybrid or authoritarian regime according to the pictures. Elected or appointed officials have a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. It is their job to ensure the protection of individual rights within their country. Voting is important not only because we are electing those to govern by means of proposing laws and voting on issues on our behalf, but also because we are going to be affected by the actions of those who we elect into office.
    From the pictures, voter turnout in the United States has a correlation to ethnicity, income level, age, education, marital status, and a myriad of other factors. However, the term “voter turnout” is even a misconception. This is so because it is defined as the percentage of people who voted who are actually registered to vote. It is not the percentage of people who voted who are of voting age and eligible to vote, as the term implies. Some of the top reasons for not voting included being too busy, being sick, and even disinterest in the issue or candidate. Also, the unemployed were less likely to vote than the employed. While these may be reasons to not vote, they are also excuses. Issues that require citizens’ votes are usually those that either directly or indirectly affect the voter. Your employment statues, interest in an issue, or spare time are not justifiable reasons to allow an issue of concern to be neglected.
    In class, we learned of a foreign leader who was not elected to office even though polls showed that the majority of the population supported him. How could this be so? Voter turnout is the answer. People assumed that he would win by a large majority and did not vote for him. This lead to him losing the election and his opponent, of whom was not largely liked, in turn winning. The moral of the story is every vote does count.
    While certain voting systems do favor one candidate over the other, it does not take away from the fact that every vote does count. A flawed system can still have merits. The system as currently used in the United States, as pointed out in class, is flawed and certainly does still have merits. It guarantees civil liberties and protection of individual rights under the Declaration of Independence. While many of the statistics in the pictures were not surprising to me, when correlated together they are surprising. They reveal the science behind elections that most do not think of. The statistics reveal how certain states may need to be campaigned in less because a large percentage of the voters already lean one way or the other (ex. California is a blue state). They also show that while, for example, a congressman is supposed to represent everyone in his district, he is highly more likely to truly represent those who will ensure that he will be reelected (i.e. fringe voters and those within his party).

  5. By far I think the graphic that was the most interesting of the prompts presented this week was the chart pertaining to the voting patterns from the 2008 presidential elections. I thought it was particularly of note that of the states with the lowest voter turnout, several of them are states where the party that, for instance, wins the electoral votes in the presidential election, had a significant margin of victory, like Arkansas and Texas. It was also interesting to note that when comparing states with high turnout and states with low turnout, many of the states with low turnout were in the South, while many of the states with higher turnout were in the North. I cannot help but wonder if this pertains to what I imagine is a generally lower socioeconomic level in the American South as opposed to more northern states like New Hampshire. I would also not be surprised if the data regarding higher levels of voter turnout being positively correlated with education level had an effect on the high and low voter turnouts as well. I would love to see data regarding how people would have voted and how the election would have turned out had people had some of the other options available to them that are employed in other countries, like the D’Hondt system.
    I recently happened to take a class at the University regarding developmental economics, which had to do a lot with the standard of living in various countries across the world. This factors in variables as diverse as level of education, income, etc. and generally tends to point towards certain places being “the best places to live”. I found it thought provoking that of the countries colored dark green, (indicating the “highest level of full democracy”) the Scandinavian countries are constantly at or near the top of the index, while Switzerland, Canada, and New Zealand also jostle for position in the top ten. In terms of cities that are the most appealing to live in, nearly all of them are almost always in one of the countries at or near the top of the HDI and in the dark green in regard to this specific map. This correlation with the “full democracy” noted by this map is, I feel, either an indication of a potential confound in the HDI or an indication that democracy is more conducive to a higher quality of life than, say, a Hybrid Regime or an Authoritarian Regime, which includes, I imagine, communist regimes.
    A final thing that I took away as being particularly significant after looking at the prompt was the voting rates of Whites and Blacks versus Asians and Hispanics. The latter two groups voted at a dramatically reduced rate compared to their compatriots. This leads me to wonder what would happen if these groups even voted at around 60% instead of less than 50%. These extra votes almost exclusively go to the Democratic Party, I feel, and while many of these votes will be in very red states already, like Texas, and others will surely be gerrymandered into irrelevancy, surely those millions of voters would have a significant effect on the Electoral College come presidential elections. That effect is surely why every election season it seems like I hear a lot more about Democrats working to promote voter turnout than I do Republicans, if for no other reason than it seems that the current voting trends favor the Republicans. I feel that especially as Obama drives to legalize illegal immigrants to a certain extent and subsequently up the population of potential Hispanic voters and other voters by a significant amount that this issue will therefore bear watching in the future.

  6. The concept and practice of democracy has undergone a long evolution and taken many various forms through out history. In order for democracy to be successful it is inherently essential that the citizens it represents are able and willing to participate. Voter turn out is an important topic often discussed extensively in proximity to elections, as we have seem in the most recent midterm races. As we have learned in class, there are countless factors contributing to voter turn out rates all around the wold. The type of democracy we live in, where we are geographically located, and even our income level or marital status all have an effect on our ability or desire to turn out to the poles. We elect people that we think will best represent our needs both on an individual and societal level. It is unfortunate that in our modern society we often take this privilege for granted even though it is one that a majority of the population has fought for for centuries. It is important to remember that voter turn out as a statistic is not a ratio over the entire population but the number of eligible voters in terms of interpreting its impact on the non voters or unrepresented members of society. Voter turn out can also have unintended consequences on the outcome of elections in cases where voters feel confident of the outcome and don’t show up to vote resulting in a loss of the candidate that was expected to win. Problems with in the electoral system, in terms of voter representation, can be a result of flaws in the system. For example, the Bush election of 2000 in which he failed to win the popular vote yet won the election due to the design of our electoral system. The use of gerrymandering is also an example of the way in which the voice of the people is altered to fulfill different political agendas yet redistricting is a major function of our political system. In the United States it seems that many have lost faith in the government for different reasons yet our participation defines who we are as a nation. We are lucky that our constitution grants us that right and recognizes it as essential to our freedom and happiness. The women in the blog post embody this feeling of pride, both groups proudly display their ability to have a say in their government despite the dangers that many, especially women, face in different societies. The graph shows the distribution of democracy as well as authoritarian regimes across the globe. These different political system differ vastly and define the society as well as the lives of its citizens. Through out history the world has been divided and conquered over and over leaving many places in instability and political turmoil. Colonization and industrialization have had a massive impact on the stability of society and the economic and political systems of a region. According to the map in the blog, in the United Staes we have a flawed democracy which I feel is an accurate description of our political system yet we are among the freest nations in the world. The demographics in the blog illustrate our participation in political system based on state, income and even marital status in the 2008 presidential election. I was glad to see that women voted at a higher rate than men especially in the face of many controversial issues involving reproductive rights. This blog was a reminder of the importance of your right and duty to do your job as a citizen and get involved in creating a future for society.

  7. The collage of images above illustrates the global reach of the democratic form of government and its implementation United States specifically. The itinerary of this course has led us from the establishment of modern states, through to the convergence of effective power to a mere few of those states (as a consequence of wars/force), and finally we arrive at the present and how humankind presently attempts to organize itself in a politically unipolar, broadly communicative, and for the most part remotely-accessible world. If one is of the opinion that democracy is the best and highest form of political organization, then we might conclude that vast swaths of populations belong to states with inadequate, less-desirable forms of government.
    Turning to the map grading the forms of government on a scale of “Authoritarian Regime” to Full Democracy,” we can see that non-democratic regimes certainly have jurisdiction over a vast amount of space, but to tie this map and states represented to the populations each state represents, the picture is just about as bleak. To take the top ten countries by population (Country/upper limit score: China-4, India-8, US-9, Indonesia-7, Brazil-7, Pakistan-5, Nigeria-4, Bangladesh-6, Russia-5, and Japan-10), which represent 58% of the global population, the average of these 10 states’ scores is only 6.5. Weight the states by population, and that score goes down to 6.2, and only that high due largely to India’s fairly stable democracy (because without it, the score would be around 4-5) putting the majority of the world’s population, on average, in at best the lower end of a flawed democracy.
    The picture is even less clear than this: we are concerned, it appears, with nominal access to the ballot box in ranking states’ effective democracy. But it would seem that such access does not translate into “rule by the people,” for a few reasons. On the one hand, democracy cannot truly exist where the “people” opt out of self-rule. The very notion, etymologically speaking, of “the vote” derives from Latin votum, voti n. meaning “a promise, prayer, or wish.” Neglecting to vote is literally the failure to express one’s wishes. The graphs at the left measure this phenomenon in the United States; a significant portion of the population abdicates their vote. Thus we are ruled by the voting population; a votocracy.
    On the other hand, at least in the United States, we may have an ineffective representative democracy if our representatives do not vote as their constituents would have them to, which one might examine by comparing opinion polls to congressional voting records. At the federal level, the vote unto itself is the selection of our representation and the efficacy of the public will is thus limited by the quality of our representation.
    Finally, returning again to the collage, it is worthy of note that the voters featured in the collages are women, a class of people to whom the franchise has been extended only within the last hundred years in many states. In the context of the United States’ democracy, one puzzling feature is that the majority-female public, which casts a greater proportion of ballots, is represented in congress by less than 20% women. Perhaps our democracy is even less effective.

    • Democracy has been naturalized, such that it has become criminal to run a country in a different way. The collage does not only celebrate democracy as the ultimate form of government but it also points out the locations that are still backward in adopting this “superior” way of life. The first pictures show a group of women with their fingers stuck out demonstrating that they have exercised their franchise. These women are attired in veils signifying that the “Islamic world” which is largely regarded as not only patriarchal but also undemocratic is beginning to adopt the ballot system and even extending it to women. The second picture shows the global geographic distribution of levels of democratization. A quick look at the shows that democracy is more prevalent in the global west and at is lowest in the east. The second picture singles out India, which has been regarded as outlier in the East in terms of democratic status. The Indian women are seen holding their voter identification cards and sticking out one finger; signifying one person per vote. The rationale is that Indian’s democracy its beyond its embryonic stage.

      The question however is, is democracy the ultimate form of government? Should every country aspire to be democratic? What does democracy even mean? The second half of this collage exposes some of these questions.

  8. From the info graphic put up it shows the distribution of the many voting systems around the world. The one I would like to focus on in the pictures provided above is the one we are most familiar with, democracy, or what we call democracy now days. We all would like to think that because we are all “free” in this great country everyone takes advantage of that fact and votes in all elections because they can, but that is far from the case. Most of the people eligible to vote do not even sign up to, also there is a huge disparity in the numbers of poor citizens voting compared to how the more affluent citizens turn out in larger numbers to vote. The problem is not voter ID laws like some would have you believe, it is 2014, if you are so keen to vote then 2 to 4 years is plenty of time in my book to be able to get somewhere and get a licence or ID. In the biggest state Texas which is where I lived most of my life the furthest a town is from a DMV is 30-45 minutes away, that is not too far for someone to be able to travel during the course of a couple years if that person wants to vote.
    But the question is how do we get those that don’t vote to participate in elections? One main problem I see is the two party system we have set up in this country. Like Dr. Davidson said it is impossible to put everyone that lives in America under two umbrellas that are the Republican and Democratic parties. So what ends up happening is the poorer population becomes disenfranchised with the election process and just stop voting overall. This has been going on in America for a long time and has put a gap between those who are evolved with the election process and those not. Obviously those who vote and take part get the people in office they want and the ones who don’t end up not having a say in any political decisions being made. Some say the cause of this is the two party political system, and will continue to drive the poor out of the voting process.
    So the question we have to ask is, is our two party democratic system the best way to get people involved with the polical process. From the graphic shown there are some non-democratic nations that have a better voter turn out but do not nessesarly enjoy the same freedoms we have in America. So who gets it right? That is a question that has to be addressed going into the future within our own country because of lack of participation in elections and continued disenfranchisement of poor people and those in the minority and not the majority.

  9. I appreciate the math archaeogisci did to determine that “majority of the world’s population, on average, [are] in at best the lower end of a flawed democracy.” Since I consider the US to be flawed, and this map considers US democracy to be full (or if not completely full, brimming), I am reminded of the privileged position I have as a citizen of this country. (Meghan expressed such appreciation well.) However, as the graphs on the bottom right remind us, there are better ways to establish proportional representation. AgainI am reminded of what I consider to be massive patriotic holes in my primary education. The single transferable vote is awesome…yet all I remember learning is how AWESOME the US democratic model is.

    I am not surprised at all by the infographic, “Who Actually Votes in America?” (Though, like Meghan I am curious about the role of marital status.) Generally, I don’t think most potential voters in the US feel as though the outcome of an election will change much. Certainly those that do would logically be more likely to show up. I think that the fact that older, richer, more educated whites vote more often than impoverished/minimally educated blacks and Hispanics reflects much about our society. Voters, I believe, live in a society that for the most part, has done well by them. Education begets confidence that your opinion not only matters but that it based in solid reasoning. Plus, the older they are – the more they have seen. My grandparents and parents are not only retired (and therefore replete with free time) but they have witnessed/participated in times in which ‘the people’ have made a difference through political participation. My sister and I consistently vote, and this past Election Day her Instagram post made me think…she commented something along the lines of how she’d voted and thereby avoided disappointing our parents, and the undertone was one of apathy. As a relatively wealthy, educated, white person, I have the privilege of voting even though I do so apathetically. It isn’t because I don’t care, it is because I am overwhelmed and know the system is flawed. I wonder what it would be like to even think about voting if I were poor and uneducated. I can’t imagine that the challenges of poverty would do much to motivate me to find time to go to the polls. The “too busy” line, as a reason for not voting, is the simple answer when no other accurate brevity is available. As numerous motivational quotes remind us, we make time for what matters to us. Exercising, cooking healthy meals, voting: amid the drudgery of long commutes, stacks of dishes and piles of laundry, these good things take a back seat often, and I would guess more often for the poor than the rich. National data on access to voting booths – particularly distance and available transportation – would provide more insight.

    Low voter turnout, as Austin and Mike both pointed out, is destructive to accurate representation and misunderstood as less of an issue than it really is. Low voter turnout is cause and symptom of sickness in any republic. The images of women proud to have voted are so beautiful…the smiles of course, but more so the stare of the woman in yellow and green in the bottom left photograph. Her expression is determined, confident, inspiring. I am over my 500 word limit so I will end here…but not before mentioning the Tata Tea campaigns, such as the Power of 49. This use of corporate power is exciting. Learn more at http://www.jaagore.com. Lastly, I learned in my internet wanderings that in the coming year Saudi women will be voting for the first time! #progress

  10. Voting is the single most important thing we can do as individuals to express our opinions. Many a people throughout history have fought for this very basic right. The right to be recognized as a person and as a human being without regard to gender, race, or class. I believe this to be a God-given right as He created everyone to be equal.
    I consider it a privilege to be able to vote, not only as a woman, but as a human being. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave me the right to vote as an American citizen. The amendment passed on June 4, 1919 and was ratified on August 20, 1920, making the presidential election of 1920, the first major election in which women in all 48 states were allowed to vote. Women in the United States have only had this right for 94 years, while women in other countries still do not have the right to vote. Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy with its strict Islamic beliefs has just recently granted women the right to vote in municipal elections starting in 2015. Welcome to the twenty first century.
    We, as Americans, should celebrate the fact that we live in a Democratic society and are given the opportunity to make a difference, to believe in something, and to be able to act on our beliefs. We have a voice and we should exercise our right to use it. I believe this to be especially true of those in minority groups, the lower income group, those with lower levels of education, and the unemployed group, yet the statistics from the 2008 Presidential election show these particular groups to have the lowest turnout. The very groups that could benefit greatly from “change” are the same groups that exhibit poor turnout. While opportunities are not always the same for all peoples and life may not always deal us the best hand, everyone has the opportunity to vote and have their voice heard in the United States. Too busy? Not interested? Don’t like the candidates? Really? When we choose not to take advantage of this opportunity, we are giving up our individual rights and choosing not to be heard. We must also choose not to complain at the outcome.
    Are we, as a country, educating our children through the school system on the importance of using their voices and voting when they become old enough? Are we teaching them the basics about our democratic society and about other societies in the world that are much different from our own? According to the statistics, the 18-24 year old age group had the poorest turnout so perhaps more education is needed.
    Lastly, since voter fraud in the United States has been a hot topic and issue lately, maybe we should adopt the voter registration identification cards similar to what India is using that includes our photo on the I.D. card. This seems like it would easily solve the problem without breaking any laws or amending the constitution.

  11. Democracies are sometimes divided into Direct and Indirect, the latter are the most popular. In Indirect, or Representative democracy, citizens elect representatives to make laws on their behalf. This is what most modern countries have today. In many representative democracies, representatives are most commonly chosen in elections where a winning candidate has to win more votes than any other candidate. Thus, the most important thing is a vote in indirect democracy system. However, everyone does not have the right to vote. Adult male and female have the right to vote in most countries even though it is different according to the nations. People who is over 21 have the right to vote in United States. Western countries are not significantly different from this.
    However, suffrage is not easily obtained. The history of democracy is the history of suffrage struggle. Women did not have the right to vote until the 1920 in United States. At that time, blacks did not have the right to vote. It was not until 1965 that blacks have the right to vote. They had struggled to have the right to vote for a long time. As a result, they got the right to vote through many efforts. It was not easy to struggle to get the right to vote, but they made it.
    Even though most of the country give the right to vote to women, some nations don’t give that right to the women. Saudi Arabia is a typical nation which does not admit the right of women to vote. Women in Saudi Arabia do not have the right to run for an election and to vote for their representative. There are many movement to give the right to women. However, it is far from reaching the goal.
    By the way, even though people have the right to vote, it can be still a problem if there are many obstacles to use the right to vote. Nowadays, there are many protests for the civil right of blacks in United States. The reason of these protests is an event that white police officer killed the black boy by gun who was demilitarized and unresisting. It comes from structure of politics in Ferguson, Missouri. The population percentage of blacks take up 70%. However, the mayor of Ferguson, Missouri is white. Also, there are 6 white members and a black member in city council. This political structure may have produced discrimination against blacks. It comes from low voter turnout of blacks. Some people say that many blacks are not interested in politics, so their voter turnout is lower than others. However, other people insist that it is difficult for black to vote because of the social obstacles to vote. The Election Day is not holiday in United States. So, it is not easy for blacks who is low-income to vote. Preliminary election is being implemented to solve this problem. However, it is not enough to solve this problem. The government of United States has to adopt many policies that people can use their right to vote regardless of color or income. We can move a step closer to ideal democracy society.

  12. Democracies are sometimes divided into Direct and Indirect (also known as Representative democracy), the latter are the most popular. In Indirect, or Representative democracy, citizens elect representatives to make laws on their behalf. This is what most modern countries have today. In many representative democracies, representatives are most commonly chosen in elections where a winning candidate has to win more votes than any other candidate. Thus, the most important thing is a vote in indirect democracy system. However, everyone does not have the right to vote. Adult male and female have the right to vote in most countries even though it is different according to the nations. People who is over 21 have the right to vote in United States. Western countries are not significantly different from this.
    However, suffrage is not easily obtained. The history of democracy is the history of suffrage struggle. Women did not have the right to vote until the 1920 in United States. At that time, blacks did not have the right to vote. It was not until 1965 that blacks have the right to vote. They had struggled to have the right to vote for a long time. As a result, they got the right to vote through many efforts. It was not easy to struggle to get the right to vote, but they made it.
    Even though most of the country give the right to vote to women, some nations don’t give that right to the women. Saudi Arabia is a typical nation which does not admit the right of women to vote. Women in Saudi Arabia do not have the right to run for an election and to vote for their representative. There are many movement to give the right to women. However, it is far from reaching the goal.
    By the way, even though people have the right to vote, it can be still a problem if there are many obstacles to use the right to vote. Nowadays, there are many protests for the civil right of blacks in United States. The reason of these protests is an event that white police officer killed the black boy by gun who was demilitarized and unresisting. It comes from structure of politics in Ferguson, Missouri. The population percentage of blacks take up 70%. However, the mayor of Ferguson, Missouri is white. Also, there are 6 white members and a black member in city council. This political structure may have produced discrimination against blacks. It comes from low voter turnout of blacks. Some people say that many blacks are not interested in politics, so their voter turnout is lower than others. However, other people insist that it is difficult for black to vote because of the social obstacles to vote. The Election Day is not holiday in United States. So, it is not easy for blacks who is low-income to vote. Preliminary election is being implemented to solve this problem. However, it is not enough to solve this problem. The government of United States has to adopt many policies that people can use their right to vote regardless of color or income. We can move a step closer to ideal democracy society.

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