What are the stakes of this election day | Kiowa County Press

People volunteer at an Alaska Native polling place on November 2, 2022 in Anchorage. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Amy Lieberman, The conversation

As Election Day approaches, uncertainty and concern over potential chaos – from violence at polling stations to candidates refusing to accept defeat – keep going up.

Problems that have historically plagued the American electoral and political system — like voter intimidation — crop up before midterms. But so do the less familiar issues, like how once mundane state electoral positions are becoming opportunities for political activism.

Here are seven key issues affecting the midterm elections, drawn from stories in The Conversation archives.

An elderly white man in a dark blue suit stands next to two American flags and a third very large flag on a blue background.  A black man in a suit stands on the other side of the American flag.
President Joe Biden spoke on November 2, 2022, warning of the need to preserve and protect democracy. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

1. Who votes

Voter turnout in midterm elections is generally low – although some experts say that there could be a strong turnout this year. But the question of who actually goes to the polls will also be critical, as the races in the main swing states tighten.

Younger voters are much less likely to vote midterm than older people, in contrast to their higher turnout rates in presidential elections, according to a government researcher from American University Jan Leighley wrote. Younger voters are also more likely to identify as Democrats.

“So if young voters are underrepresented in the November 2022 election, more Republicans could be elected, along with candidates less likely to reflect the views of young citizens on key issues,” he added. Leighley wrote.

This year, meanwhile, a record number of Latinos are also expected to go to the polls. In 2020, most Latinos voted for President Joe Biden – but a growing number of Latino voters are also supporting GOP candidates, including former President Donald Trump, wrote University of Tennessee Social Work learned Mary Lehman outfit.

One reason is that Latino voters have different backgrounds, values ​​and priorities. And not all would be turned off by the Republican candidates’ restrictive immigration policy.

“Immigration policies only affect a subset of Latinos, notably Mexicans, followed by Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans,” Lehman Held explained.

2. What voters want

It’s the economy, fool like the famous The 1992 political adage about voters’ primary concern goes.

Rampant inflation evaluates the best voters concerns this year, even though neither political party has been particularly effective in tackling the problem and bringing inflation down, according to a Texas State University finance expert William Chittenden wrote.

There has been a flurry of political activism surrounding the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in June 2022, reversing the federal right to abortion. But just four months later, men and women are both saying abortion politics aren’t getting them to the polls, according to social scientists at Harvard Kennedy School and Northwestern University. Matthew A. Baum, Alauna Safarpour, Jonathan Schulman and Kristin Lunz Trujillo.

“The Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision may have initially mobilized some voters in June and July, particularly women, but its effects appear to have waned when we asked Americans about their intentions to vote again in August. and October”, they wrote.

3. Elections aren’t what they used to be

Gone are the days when election administrators were seen as low-key, doing essential — but not flashy — work like organizing voter lists, staffing polling stations and tabulating results. elections.

General distrust of elections is high in the United States after the 2020 election – and former President Trump’s refusal to accept defeat. It’s a new era in politics, where it’s not necessarily a given that “elections are held, votes are counted, winners are declared, and democracy is evolving,” Arizona State University wrote. Thomas Reillypublic governance specialist and former state elections official.

A complicating factor is that the United States is the only democracy that elects many of its election officials, and high-ranking members of the Republican or Democratic parties typically oversee state-level elections.

“This partisan system has largely worked until now because, in essence, each party controlled the other party’s ability to influence election results. As long as states were politically diverse, members of both major parties acted good faith, and this model worked – albeit imperfectly,” writes Reilly.

But there is already evidence that newly created and highly partisan election officials and election observers are planning to disrupt the election, which could diminish public confidence in this essential democratic institution and weaken democracy itself. And a large number of candidates for national election administration positions are election deniers. If they win, Reilly wrote, it will further erode public confidence in the integrity of the election.

A large white sign says
Young people walk past a voting information board on the Emory University campus in Atlanta on October 14, 2022. Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

4. Black voters risk being intimidated

Amid warnings from the Department of Homeland Security about political violence on Election Day – that University of Maryland, Baltimore County security researcher Richard Fornon recently explored – there is an increased risk that polling stations will become another site of political violence.

The threat reminds long-standing efforts by white supremacists for intimidate and threaten black voters.

Georgia is a place with a long history of voter intimidation that rolls out electoral reform laws that actually make it harder for voters — especially people of color — to vote. Part of this new law, called SB 202, removes certain ballot drop boxes, which people of color primarily use. It comes as black voters grow in numbers and power in Georgia — and the tightened voting rules are reminiscent of the 1940s and other times when white conservatives clamped down on the franchise in response to rising political power. Black.

“The almost immediate passage of new election laws at a time of rising black political power suggests the persistence of a white backlash in Georgia,” wrote Emory University political scientist Richard Doner.

Editor’s note: This story is a summary of articles from The Conversation archives.

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Amy LiebermanPolitics + Society Editor, The conversation

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