why do people choose not to vote

America is a free country, and voting is an important part of that freedom. Unlike other countries where dictators and monarchs make decisions on behalf of the people, Americans get the right to decide who runs the country and what laws should govern citizens. But even though voting is an important privilege, most Americans simply don t vote, and some of their reasons may surprise you. Here are seven common reasons most Americans don t vote. Many Americans don t vote because they think their vote doesn t count. This is a common excuse that s rooted in the belief that the Electoral College chooses the President, not the voters. In reality, the popular vote in each state determines which candidate the Electoral College endorses for that state. Therefore, your vote does count within your state, and you should get out and exercise your right to vote. Americans are busy people. Work, family, and other life obligations tend to get in the way of civic duties like voting. There s no doubt that voting presents scheduling challenges, but is that really a good excuse not to vote? After all, people all over the world have fought and died for the right to vote. The least we can do is carve out a few minutes to go to a polling center and cast our vote. Voting registration can be confusing, especially for citizens that have moved from county to county or from state to state. But registration itself is painless and takes little more than the presentation of identification. Therefore, to prevent registration requirements from preventing you from voting, make it a point to update your voter registration every time you move.


Americans have a reputation for being apathetic to politics and voting in general, but politics in particular can cause Americans eyes to glaze over. Many people don t like the partisan bickering underlying the voting process, and this is a valid concern. However, if you are too apathetic to vote, you should also be sure to hold your complaints about the way things are run. If you don t voice your opinion by voting, you shouldn t have the right to voice your complaints when things don t go the way you want them to. Voting lines can sometimes be long, and for busy people waiting in line is a horrible waste of time and energy. But in reality, voting lines are seldom long, even for high-profile presidential races. With the advent of new technology, voting is becoming easier and more efficient than ever before, and this allows voters to get in and out without having to wait in long lines. This excuse is becoming less and less relevant as time goes on. Politicians are sometimes easy to dislike. Their flaws are often aired publicly for the entire world to see, and many people generally distrust politicians based on this information. But even if you don t particularly like any of the candidates, do you really know them? And should it matter whether you like them or not? Perhaps a politician s stance on issues important to you is more important than whether or not they are likeable. Even if it s choosing the lesser of two or more evils in your eyes, voting is still an important way for you to voice your opinion about the subjects you care about most.


Getting to polling locations can be a hassle, especially for the disabled, the sick, and people without transportation. In addition, voting becomes even more difficult for those citizens who are temporarily out of the country on vacation or business. But advocacy groups are making it much easier to get to the polls, even for those with special needs. In addition, absentee voting allows those people who are temporarily out of the country to cast their vote remotely. As a result, claiming that you can t get to the polls is not a very good excuse not to vote.
The Economist, who have a piece in print about why 75% of voters aged 18 to 30 chose not to participate in the 2010 midterms -- and why a similar number are expected to stay home this year as well. This despite efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to spur the nation's most passive voter bloc: "On October 7th Michelle Obama told students that voting might improve their sex lives. 'Bring that cute guy or girl you have that crush on,' she said. 'Trust me, they ll be impressed. '. In Louisiana, Mary Landrieu, the incumbent senator, promises lower interest rates for student loans and bigger grants for poor students. She has also danced the 'Wobble' at a tailgate party and has helped a 28-year-old perform a 'keg stand' (doing a handstand on a beer keg while drinking from it). She is not the only candidate trying to show a fun-loving side to youthful voters.


Scott Brown, a Republican running for the Senate in New Hampshire, recently attended a student party, though he pointedly ignored an offer of some mood-altering pills. " So why, despite the allure of performing a keg stand with a 58-year-old woman, do young people refuse to go to the polls? On one hand, there are plenty of millennials who are just completely oblivious -- you'll never convince them that voting is important. On the other hand, many young people refuse to go to the polls because of a lack of trust in the political process. Considering where a decade's worth of political maneuvering has left this lost generation, that doesn't come as too much of a surprise: "Young people do care about politics: they just dislike it. Less than a third think that running for office is an honourable thing to do, according to research from Harvard University, while two-thirds think that politicians mostly go into public service for selfish reasons. Millennials can barely remember a time when jobs were plentiful or Washington wasn t gridlocked. More than a third of them live with their parents. Many have vast college debts. Small wonder they are alienated. " There are also other factors at work here. Young people move around a lot and are therefore harder for campaigns to track down. Many of them live without TVs, meaning they miss the vast majority of political advertisements. And about half of registered millennials refuse to associate with one of the major political parties, meaning their issues are largely ignored in party platforms.


That last bit is especially important. It illustrates the self-perpetuating hopelessness felt by many young voters. The reason millennials don't vote is because politics doesn't serve their interests. The reason politics doesn't serve their interests is because they don't vote. The obvious solution would be to form some sort of groundswell that empowers young people to rise up as one and effect change in the political process. If voter turnout among millennials were 75% rather than 25%, issues such as the student debt crisis would rise to the top of politicians' priority lists. I think the major roadblock here is that the younger generation (of which I'm a part) bears no faith in populism. Many feel burned that voting for Obama hasn't resulted in the sort of changes they wanted. Movements like Occupy Wall Street were spectacularly quashed -- partly by poor leadership but mostly through the media. Any time a cause that people believe in becomes popular, the blowback from the cynics of society tear it at the seams. As a result, young people feel impotent. We feel like there's no hope that we could ever organize in a way that would change anything. The palpable power that we should feel as a major American voting bloc has been sapped away by both circumstance and design. Thus, millennials exhibit the titular traits: apathy, frustration, ignorance. For more on young voters and why most of them are staying home on November 4, read the entire piece linked below. Read more at Photo credit: doglikehorse / Shutterstock

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