Why Are Americans Not Voting?

By Jacqui McLean 

As November third draws closer, many Americans prepare to cast a vote in the 2020 election. However, despite the fact that voting is one of our country’s most democratic freedoms, a large portion of Americans will choose not to vote. Many Americans have not afforded themselves the option, as they are not registered. 

In other countries, registering to vote is simple and sometimes done automatically. For example, in Australia, a country with a 96 percent registration rate, voting is compulsory. Other countries like Canada send out registration reminders and have easy same-day registration.  However, in the United States, qualified voters must register themselves in much more tedious fashion. The difference in registration process plays a significant role in why the United States has such a low voter turnout; especially for a developed nation. In a Pew Research Article, the United States was listed as 26th out of 32 for voter participation in developed countries. Not a surprise considering only around 70 percent of voting age citizens were registered in 2016 and only 56 percent actually voted. Why do Americans refuse to register, and why do they reject voting?

The answer is not necessarily black and white. There are quite a few circumstances in which people do not register or vote. For example, a notable portion of people faced either registration issues or the removal from voter rolls. Myrna Pérez, from New York University’s Center for Justice, notes, “Between 2014 and 2016, states removed almost 16 million voters from the voter rolls,” This quantity surpasses even the normal population or registration fluctuation. Data analysis from the Census Bureau finds another 4% of registered Americans experienced registration issues, making them ineligible to vote. However, the most significant reason Americans don’t vote is simply their apathy or disinterest towards voting. Reasons for almost half of the population not voting range from lack of interest to not feeling their vote is significant or simply not having the time. 

It’s a shocking fact that in a country of such freedom an opportunity, Americans are so negligent of the powers they are given. If you are registered to vote don’t forget to get to the polls in November. And if you aren’t registered, remember it is up to you to register yourself, stay informed, and vote.