While some pundits bemoan low voter turnouts, the head of political science at the University of Northern Iowa says he’s not upset when elections fail to generate droves of voters. Professor Tom Rice says those who want to take part in the process, do. Professor Rice says “It doesn’t bother me that we only have half the people turn out for a presidential election. I’d like to have more, I guess, but democracy can function perfectly well with only half the people voting.” Rice says the requirement that voters register, often weeks before an election, is a “barrier” in the U.S.He says in countries where registration is not required, voter turnouts are much higher. “People vote if they’re interested. If they’re not interested, they’re probably relatively satisfied,” Rice says, adding, “Some may be alienated but many are simply satisfied with the way things are in the country.” Rice says Iowa has a relatively high voter turnout, compared to the rest of the nation.Rice says demanding that everyone vote wouldn’t help the democratic process, but would likely hinder it, saying, “What you’d end up with is a large number of votes from people who don’t understand the issues or the candidates.” Today (Wednesday) marks the 38th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was passed to ensure access to the ballot for all citizens.
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