Experts in the fields of political science, policy and economics came together Tuesday evening in Memorial Union to discuss the impact of voting.
University of Wisconsin political science Professor Barry Burden believes people are inclined to vote because it means something to them.
“The conventional wisdom is that people vote because they are motivated to do so, they have the skills to do it and somebody asks them to,” Burden said.
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Craig Gilbert, the state of Wisconsin is highly participatory when it comes to politics compared to other states.
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But both Gilbert and Burden believe there are factors which make people less likely to vote and despite Wisconsin’s high-performance in the area of politics, it’s not immune to the risks.
Voter fraud is always a concern and more recently, faith in the system has been on the decline as well, Burden said.
“The most worrisome thing to me is not that [politics] is divided or contentious, but that the sense of legitimacy is eroding from our elections,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert said he is worried that no election can take place now without someone making a claim about anomalies in the election results.
Gilbert and Burden emphasized that casting a vote now is more important than ever, despite a growing mistrust in America’s voting system. Burden even believes the mistrust could work in favor of encouraging voters to cast their ballot.
“There’s an anti-system, anti-establishment movement that is bringing people out of the woodwork to vote,” Burden said.
Burden said voting is a responsibility and urged interested people to involve themselves in the process. According to Burden, one out of every 100 voters is a poll worker and a record number of women are running for office in this year’s election.
According to Burden, since students are young, they are less experienced in the voting process which is why candidates choose to frequent college campuses to encourage mobilization of voters.
“Voting is part of our duty as citizens,” Gilbert said.
Representatives from the Big Ten Voter Challenge and UW’s Political Science Student Organization attended the event to encourage early voter registration for the 2018 midterm election.