The Element of Dislike…Why People Don’t Vote

Okay, enough of hand wringing. I was digging through old stuff last night and I found an interesting report from the Pew Research Center about why folks passed on voting in 2016. Turns out they just didn’t like the choices. This is like one of those things that turns up late at night in the bar after you have had so many Moscow Mules (Timely!) that nothing seems to make sense even as everything actually does make sense.

Two things can happen on a night like that. 1. The person of your dreams shows up and she (he) is so interested in you and just drags you off to the sack for a night of misbehavior followed by a breakfast of deep and lasting regret. 2. Someone will utter a truth that cannot be denied but you will forget it as soon as you hear it and stumble off to pee on what you thought was a urinal but was actually the side of a white police car. (This has actually happened. The peeing thing, not the romance thing.)

So, just to refresh you about this, here is a professionally produced study on exactly why people did not vote in 2016. It’s good to remember this heading toward the fall elections so you can head off the excuses before people utter them. And utter them they will, for certain.

“Tens of millions of registered voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election, and the share who cited a ‘dislike of the candidates or campaign issues’ reached a new high of 25 percent,” according to the Pew Analysis. In 2012, just 13 percent said not liking the candidates kept them from voting. But people were more sour about their candidates in 2016 than they had been in decades.

It might be the orange primate factor on the Trump side or the “lock her up” element on the Hillary side. Suffice it to say the numbers show a great disdain for the choices by election day. Here’s what registered voters said in the 2016 Current Population Survey about not voting.

A full 25 percent said they didn’t like the candidates or the issues. Fifteen percent said they were “not interested or felt their vote would not make a difference.” Fourteen percent were just too busy. Twelve percent were sick. Eleven percent were “other”, 8 per cent were out of town, 4 percent had registration problems, 3 percent said they just forgot (probably just as well) and 3 percent had transit problems and the final 2 percent said the hours or polling places were not convenient.

It is a pretty safe guess that changing a few of those perceptions could have changed the outcome.

But the important thing is they just didn’t vote.

We need to make it easier for even the rest of the thoughtless to cast ballots.

Or something like that.