January 17, 2020
At least 40% to 90% of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the United States. With the 2020 presidential election approaching, directives for people to “get out and vote” will be firing up again.Some people might be indifferent or simply not care, but many who forgo voting have legitimate reasons. Over the past decade, through my extensive research on civil rights and oppression, through my observations of social media comments and through my conversations with hundreds of college students, I have concluded that such reasons are both important and, generally, unnoticed. 1\. Voter suppressionRepublican-led efforts to diminish participation in voting and voter registration have greatly contributed to the number of nonvoters. Since 2010, 25 states have adopted measures specifically aimed at making voting more difficult. Such measures include additional voter identification requirements. Sometimes lawmakers said these were necessary to curb illegal voting, which research shows is an all-but-nonexistent problem.Some counties and states have also created confusion and uncertainty about how to initially register or re-register after a voter has moved. In other cases, people might not know where to vote, due to the distribution of deliberately false information.Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 that key aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional, states have closed over 1,000 polling locations, half of these in Texas.
I asked people why they dont vote, and this is what they told me
2\. Personal choiceSome people decide to forgo voting.I hear again and again that sometimes people make such choices because they were intimidated by friends, by family members or by people at polling places. When facing the complexities of races with dozens of candidates and complicated issues, others say they don’t feel they know enough to make informed decisions.People have also told me they worry about feeling personally responsible if they vote for a candidate or position and there are unforeseen consequences, such as cuts to important aid programs. Members of any group, but especially those of underrepresented groups, may long to vote for desirable candidates but not feel that current candidates offer the possibility that anything will really change.Individuals have shared with me that they have not voted because they do not trust a nation that they feel has lied and perpetuated systemic abuse against minorities, aggravated further by widespread gerrymandering and for presidential elections, by an Electoral College system that doesn’t weigh each vote the same. In France and India, for example, people who dislike all of the candidates can formally “vote” without endorsing any candidate by selecting “none of the above.” Not having this option in the U.S. might affect turnout, too. 3\. Obstacles to accessFor others, voting may simply be too difficult.I often hear of people who – even with early voting or absentee options – cannot vote because they lack transportation. They are homeless. They lack child care. They are disabled. They work, go to school and live in different cities.This is even more applicable for the 7 to 8 million in the U.S. who hold multiple jobs. Laws guarantee time off for voting but aren’t enforceable and aren’t always workable. Such people are effectively disenfranchised. 4\. Lack of rightsOnly nonincarcerated, mentally competent, registered citizens of age can vote. Based on 2015 data, the right to vote was not extended to an over 13 million people with green cards, work visas or refugee status. Given the total population of people 18 and older exceeded 248 million in 2015, one out of every 20 adults living, working and spending money in the U.S. was not eligible to vote. Using vague and inconsistent language, states have also worked to deny disabled or mentally ill people a political voice. This affects potentially over a million people nationwide.As discussed in the books “The New Jim Crow” and in “Race, Incarceration and American Values,” an additional 6 million Americans cannot vote because of felony convictions, an issue that disproportionately affects black people. In some states, this disenfranchisement remains in effect for life.
The futureGiven the legitimacy of reasons why they don’t participate, nonvoters certainly shouldn’t be scolded with, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Or with even harsher words, as one friend on Facebook put it: “If you don’t vote, everything wrong in the world is your fault.”People long to be heard and deserve fair representation. Instead of bashing nonvoters, I recommend taking some deep breaths and initiating friendly conversations. Listen and learn. At a time when public trust in government is at historic lows, such conversations might even encourage someone to demand a voice.[ You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Why the race for the presidency begins with the Iowa caucus * Want to know what will happen in 2020? Look to state polls for the answerAndrew Joseph Pegoda does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War has been ongoing between Russia and Ukraine since February 2014.

Russia's war in Ukraine has proven almost every assumption wrong, with Europe now wondering what left is safe to assume.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Madonna’s most bizarre TikTok and Instagram videos of 2022 | Page Six Celebrity News
December 30, 2022
Ggk_RlohXuI
Teresa Giudice and Luis Ruelas stand by sex multiple times a day: It’s ‘normal’ | Page Six
December 30, 2022
AljKbtgRGnc
Lisa Hochstein shared video confronting Lenny Hochstein & girlfriend at Miami club #shorts | PageSix
December 30, 2022
j_JVk60r6EI
'Channel 5' Creator Andrew Callaghan Talks BTS of 'This Place Rules' Documentary Feature
December 30, 2022
dJit_YG5fjg
#brendanfraser on getting jacked to play 'George of the Jungle' after 'Airheads" with #adamsandler
December 30, 2022
bkwreE4eMRQ
Selena Gomez, Ryan Gosling and Julia Fox Top the List Of Variety's Best Red Carpet Moments Of 2022
December 29, 2022
pv2A-331cLg
Wiz Khalifa Joins Neek Bucks For Upcoming 'Shot Caller' Video | TMZ
December 26, 2022
TxkRr1jj-gk
Andrew Zimmern Says TikTok Recipes Need to Stop This Holiday Season | TMZ
December 26, 2022
DdlO88KfJoY
Top 7 WTF Moments of 2022 | TMZ
December 26, 2022
3JA-5abr6A4
Most HIGHLY ANTICIPATED Movies of 2023 | E! News
January 01, 2023
3-1K1VSRjys
22 Pop Culture Moments That Defined 2022: Link in Comments! #shorts | E! News
December 31, 2022
MNnChuudoSA
Suspect Charged With Murder in Idaho College Killings | E! News
December 31, 2022
aeonRlI5xL0
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Aston Villa
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Nottingham Forest - Chelsea
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Coventry - Bristol City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Cardiff City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Millwall - Rotherham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackpool - Sunderland
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Everton
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Manchester United
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Arsenal
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Espanyol
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Osasuna
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Crystal Palace
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Leeds
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Southampton
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Valencia
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Real Madrid
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Leicester City
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Hull City
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Burnley
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Reading
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Brentford
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Swansea City - Watford
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Sevilla
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Cadiz - Almeria
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Mallorca
29
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Elche
29
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
West Bromwich Albion - Preston NE
29
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackpool - Sheffield United
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Nottingham Forest
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Bournemouth
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.