Why Don't All Americans Vote?


Quick Answer

According to a 2014 poll by the Census Bureau, Americans say they don't vote for a number of reasons, including feeling too busy, being uninterested, illness, being out of town, or forgetting. Other explanations respondents gave for not making it to the polls are disliking the candidates or issues, problems registering, the polling location being inconvenient, problems with transportation and bad weather.

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Full Answer

In 2014, 36 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, compared to 41 percent in the previous midterm election in 2010. This was the lowest turnout since 1942, in the midst of World War II.

Many states have attempted to make voting easier for those who have trouble getting to a polling location by offering early voting, absentee ballots and voting by mail. These methods are used by 30 percent of those who vote, but have not raised the overall percentage of those casting a ballot.

The overarching reasons for low voter turnout, despite the reasons given in surveys, may be a lack of motivation and interest. This is especially true of midterm Congressional elections and local races. In 2014, only 68 percent of registered voters told pollsters that they were following the election "very closely" or "somewhat closely," compared to 76 percent in 2010 and 78 percent in 2006. In the 2012 Presidential election, 99 percent of voters said they were following the race at least somewhat closely.

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