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1. It is not just the president on the ballot

Control of the White House may indeed hinge on just a handful of swing states. FiveThirtyEight estimates that the Republican presidential nominee could lock in a big victory by winning eight states Democrats won in 2012 — Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and would only need to receive receive 3 percent more support from five main demographic groups.

But how much the next president can do depends on whether his or her party controls either the Senate or the House. The size of those parties’ majorities also makes a difference. A filibuster-proof, 60-vote supermajority in the senate, for instance, can enable or cripple a president much more decisively than a simple majority.

2. Higher turnout makes our democracy more representative.

Ever wonder why nearly three-quarters of the American public supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but Congress refuses to act?

There are many reasons, of course — among them that people do not vote on economic concerns alone and big business interests have poured major resources into lobbying against it.

But at least part of the answer lies in the fact that many Americans who support those policies do not bother voting — particularly in the midterm congressional elections, when the presidency is not at stake.

That is especially true because the groups most likely to support progressive policies like a minimum wage hike — people of color, low-income people and young people — turn out in particularly low numbers in midterm elections.

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7 Reasons You Should Vote In This Year’s Elections  was originally published on