A newly-released study by Demos, a think-tank, shows that there is a correlation between income and voter turnout in presidential elections. Using the 2008 presidential election as a reference for the study, Demos found that the richer an individual is, the more likely they are to vote.
“Affluent Americans are more likely to engage in nearly every kind of political activity: they vote at higher rates, contribute more to campaigns, are more likely to contact an elected representative, join an organized interest group, work for a political candidate, discuss politics with friends,” the study reads.
According to the Census Bureau, 81.6 percent of Americans making over $150,000 reported that they voted in the 2008 presidential election. By contrast, only about half of citizens making under $30,000 reported voting. The gap in voter turnout in the 2010 midterm elections was slightly larger, with affluent Americans voting at rates as high as 35 points more than low-income citizens.
The study also points out that while turnout rates among low-income Americans have increased in recent years, “political participation rates by low-income Americans are alarmingly low, and our antiquated voting system contributes to this problem.”
“The system is overly bureaucratic with unnecessarily restrictive registration procedures, which work to dissuade people from voting. Something as simple and common as moving within the same state jeopardizes voter eligibility due to registration requirements,” the group added.