Article Examines Why People Choose Not to Vote

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A article examines why individuals choose not to vote, although many changes have been made in an attempt to improve voter turnout.  These recent changes, which have been highlighted in two other articles and posted to Conduit Street, include early voting and online absentee ballot systems.  Maryland has implemented early voting and online absentee ballots will be implemented for military and overseas voters for the upcoming presidential election.

Polls performed over the past few years have found that individuals decide not to vote because they don’t have time, feel their vote will not make a difference, or they are not excited about the candidates.  The U.S. Census has also been collecting information to help determine why individuals choose to vote or not to vote.

A Psychology Today article in December summarized the findings for the 2008 presidential election.

“Topping the list of reasons for not voting is a lack of interest (13%) or a dislike of the candidates or issues (13%),” Psychology Today said. “More than a quarter of registered nonvoters in 2008 didn’t vote because they weren’t interested or didn’t like their choices.”

Many reported illness or disability (15%), especially among older registered nonvoters.  Others were too busy, or had conflicting schedules (17%).  That’s about a third of the registered nonvoters.

Of the remainder, many had some logistical problem with the process:  6% had problems with their voter registration, 3% did not have a convenient polling place and another 3% had some sort of transportation problem.

These polls, studies and surveys suggest that most of the people who don’t vote are not engaged in their community, don’t find much difference in the candidates or parties and don’t think their participation will make much difference.

But the large sample in the Census report indicates that some changes in the voting process and registration could lead perhaps 10% more of the nonvoters to cast their ballots.

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