Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


Roger White


voter turnout, voter registration


During a recent midterm congressional election I was reminded of the process that the average American citizen must go through to vote. This process began, in my case, several weeks in advance of the actual vote. First, I had to make a number of phone ca 11 s to determine where to register. Then, I was forced to take time out of my daily schedule to go down and register during their office hours. Registration was only the beginning, however, as I spent the next few weeks trying to sort through the multitude of information about the election in order to make the best choices. Finally, the day to cast my ballot arrived, but I found that voting was not much easier than the rest of the process. For one thing, it took a fair amount of effort just to find someone who could direct me to the voting place, and for another, I had to stand in line for about 20 minutes. As I left the voting booth, wondering how much difference my one vote could make anyway, I had a better understanding of why only about half the eligible citizens vote in the United States.