A record number of midterm voters participated in the congressional elections this November: 47 percent of the voting-eligible population. Yet what about the other 53 percent? We’re calling them the party of non voters.
Why Aren’t They Voting?
Pew Research into the attitudes of the non voters quantifies the obvious: they don’t like politics, they don’t think their votes would make a difference and/or they don’t care who won their congressional district. The other reasons cited for not voting were “too inconvenient,” “not registered” or “forgot to vote.”
% of non voters who say each is a ___ reason why they did not vote
|Major||Minor||Not a Reason|
|I don’t like politics.||26||23||59|
|I don’t think my vote would make a difference.||21||23||55|
|I don’t care who won the congressional election in my area||12||23||64|
|It was too inconvenient for me to vote||20||21||59|
|I’m not registered or eligible to vote.||19||10||70|
|I forgot to vote||7||15||77|
Source: Pew Research Center. Survey of U.S. Adults conducted November 7-16, 2018. No answer not shown.
Let’s Change the Rules of the Game
These attitudes make sense given the current “rules of the game.” The only voters that really matter to politicians are the primary voters in a few “swing” districts. In fact, the rules of the Electoral College system marginalize 75 percent of eligible voters in presidential elections. How? Only 11 swing states matter to the overall outcome.
In addition, according to academic research at Princeton University over the last 20 years, desires of the average citizen have no impact on the likelihood of congress enacting any given law. This explains why 89 percent of the country can support universal background checks for gun sales, but nothing happens. In this case, the power of the NRA isn’t in direct contributions, but the grass-roots network committed to securing the Second Amendment.
Changing the current rules of the game could motivate voters to go to the polls if they feel their vote can make a difference. If we want to change these rules, we need to open up competition within the DNC and RNC. We also need to allow independents to compete on a level playing field.
Want to learn more? Go to www.changetherules.org to find out about the reforms already underway to engage more of Americans in the election process.