Give 'Jaded Electorate' a
Give 'Jaded Electorate' a Boost
Commentary by CVD Chair John Anderson
June 19, 2004
As a member of the Citizens' Debate Commission, I applaud your
editorial in favor of our commission running this year's presidential debates
(June 14). We need public interest formats and candidate inclusion rules
that better inform and inspire citizens.
But better debates are just a start for addressing the problem of a jaded
electorate. This year's high-stakes contest for the White House may cause an
uptick in voter turnout -- at least in the 18 battleground states -- but
long-term trends are deeply disturbing.
The Panetta Institute for Public Policy this month released a study showing that
only 35 percent of college students believe that voting in
presidential elections is a way to bring about meaningful change -- down
sharply from just three years ago.
Our political leaders barely address this political depression. We need to
open up choices in general elections with instant runoff voting, increase
fairness in our campaign finance system, expand the electorate through
universal voter registration, represent more voters with methods of full
representation and ensure federal protection of the right to vote through a
In short, please keep after how we can make our democracy work.