Posted on January 16, 2018 • Category: Civic Health
Percentage of Arizonans that voted in the 2016 general election,
the highest voter turnout since the 2010 midterm election.
National Conference on Citizenship
The growing disconnect between citizens and government is well-documented, and nowhere more powerfully than in the 2016 Democracy Index. Published annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the study uses a set of 60 indicators to provide a worldwide snapshot of democracy as it’s practiced today. The overall score of 7.98 for the U.S. drops our country from the ranks of a “full democracy” to one of 57 “flawed” democracies.
The overall score of 7.98 for the U.S. drops our country from the ranks of a “full democracy” to one of 57 “flawed” democracies.
The U.S. has dropped because of two factors:
The new 2016 Democracy Index describes a “full democracy” as having a voter turnout above 70%. The U.S. has not seen that since 1900. Arizona has never achieved that turnout among eligible voters.
Published annually by The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Democracy Index attributes America’s slip from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” to lack of voter participation coupled with the distrust that Americans have in government, especially the federal government. Since 2010, the Arizona Civic Health Index has tracked Arizonans’ participation in a wide range of civic behaviors.
In 2017, the U.S. Census fielded this question to U.S. citizens who did not vote in the 2016 election:
Arizonans are conflicted. Nearly half of those who report they did not vote in the 2016 election (47.2%) say they either “Didn’t like the candidates of campaign issues,” or “Felt their vote would not make a difference.” This exceeds the national average (40.2%) for these two responses by seven percent.
One of the most important factors in civic health is voter turnout.
The following U.S. Census results from the last three general and midterm elections provide a clear look at how Arizonans have responded to elections over the past six cycles:
In a previously published AZ Snapshot on democracy and citizenship, CFA quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said that “To be just, majority decisions must be in the interests of all the people, not just one faction.”
Falling below the 8.0 threshold for a “full” democracy, the U.S. drops to one of 57 “flawed” democracies.