Monday, December 05, 2016
Only 74% of People Voted In 2016 Election
A democracy, any democracy, depends on the participation of its citizens. That means voting in the elections that are held. It looks like a substantial portion of our population doesn't care whether we live in a democracy or not.
The charts above are from a post-election survey done by the Public Religion Research Institute between November 9th and 20th of a random sample of 1,162 adults, with a margin of error of 3.6 points.
It turns out that 74% said they voted in the presidential election. Another 6% admitted they were not eligible to vote, and a whopping 20% simply did not bother to vote -- about one out of every five people eligible to vote. With our adult population being about 245.3 million, that means about 49 million people didn't think our democracy was important enough for them to bother with voting.
And the reasons those people gave for not voting were pathetic. About 11% said they didn't vote because the election was "rigged". That's just dumb. There is no reliable information of the election being rigged.
About 36% said they didn't vote because they didn't like the candidates. Also dumb. There's never been an election in which I thought a candidate was perfect. They all have warts (because they are human). But the candidates are never equally bad. You just choose the one that you think will do the best job for the country. And there were more than two candidates to choose from, with parties representing the spectrum of political opinion -- Green Party (far left), Democratic Party (moderate left), Republican Party (right-wing), Libertarian Party (far-right-wing), and various other parties on many state ballots.
About 23% said they didn't have the time to go vote. Bull! Most states, if not all, allow early voting, and in most, employers are required to give a person enough time off to vote. This excuse is just that -- an excuse, not a reality.
About 21% said they didn't vote because they weren't registered. That may be the most pathetic excuse of all. It is easy to register to vote and there is no excuse not to do so. It can be done in person or by mail nearly every day of the year, and in some states can even be done on election day.
Another 2% said their vote doesn't count anyway. Also dumb, and untrue. And about 7% refused to give a reason for not voting. They probably understood that they really have no good reason not to vote.
I will be honest with you. People who don't vote really irritate me. Citizens have an obligation to vote. It is their civic duty. It's the price we pay for living in a democracy (a small price that costs nothing).
I can only think that those who don't bother to vote really don't care if they live in a democracy or not, and that's just sad -- and stupid.