In a little less than four months, millions of Americans (hopefully 219 million of them) will be casting their votes to select the next president who will continue to keep our country free and great in what many are calling the most consequential presidential election in a generation.
Why “hopefully 219 million Americans”?
Well, that is the total number of Americans who were eligible to vote in 2012.
OK, let’s be a little more realistic and say, hopefully 146 million Americans will vote this November — that would be the total number of Americans who were registered to vote in 2012.
On second thought, perhaps we shouldn’t set our sights so high: Let us hope that at least the same number of Americans who voted in the 2012 presidential election — 126 million — will cast ballots in November.
Some will rightly say, there should be more Americans voting this election since there are definitely more Americans today than four years ago and, although the data is not out yet, there must be more Americans eligible to vote, ergo more Americans registered to vote. Again, let us hope so.
The 126 million represents a meager 57.5* percent of Americans who were eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election.
Why did the other 42.5 of Americans not vote?
According to statisticbrain.com, these were some of the most common reasons:
• Too busy/ conflicting schedule: 17.5%
• Illness or disability: 14.9%
• Not interested: 13.4 %
• Did not like candidates or campaign issues 12.9%
There were also a 7% of the potential voters who didn’t know why they didn’t vote and 2.6% who forgot.
One statistic is especially worrisome. In 2012 when we had Barack Obama running against Mitt Romney, a whopping 12.9% did not like either of the candidates or the campaign issues.
Worrisome because we are hearing from so many voters that they don’t like either of the candidates — with a passion.
In an election that supposedly may be the most important election of our lifetime, this phenomenon does not bode well for our democracy.
I will not bore the reader with stories about how the U.S. voting record is dismal compared with other developed democracies; how in other countries voting is compulsory; how in other countries people would die for the right to vote, and so on.
I will just share a poem by a good friend, a combat vet, a patriot, hoping that you won’t be “a dolt.”
Don’t be a Dolt – Get out there and Vote!
It would be a tragic shame
If from voting you abstain
You may dislike the choice between two charged with “sleaze”
As rational voters you are caught in a squeeze
But listen up, if you please – Take some time – get on your knees
Consider what happens if you walk away
The ideologues and extremists will vote –they’ll have their say
Democracy requires active participation
Don’t get caught up in mental constipation
Voting is a patriotic duty that many died to defend
Without your involvement Democracy could end
Many are swayed by nostalgia of a former “glory”
But it’s a new “globalized” world – it’s a whole new story
A return to the past is like promising you the Fountain of Youth
So remember that when in the voting booth
The U.K. Brexit result is an example prime
The young put in a nickel, the old put in a dime
The young wanted in but only 36% voted
The old listened to “back to old Glories” and bolted
Make up your mind, even though you may find it a bitter pill
If you leave it to others you could pay a heavy bill
For each vote you do not send – power to an ideologue you lend
You double their power, so think hard about it, my friend
Now just a reminder if you think I over-state
In 2014 there was a dismal 36.3% USA voting rate
We now have a “grid-locked” Congress with disapproval of 80 %
And in 2012’s Presidential election only 53.6% in the booth went
It’s not just for a President on whom to decide.
We need a Congress that does something, not everything decry.
And future judges Supreme Court judges are at stake
With our “grid-locked” Congress they more decisions make
Now I’ll say it one more time, I can’t say it any louder
As an old combat vet, of the USA I could not be prouder
But it won’t stay the same if our own vote we give away
To ideologues who by fear and nostalgia arguments are swayed
Don’t be a Dolt – Get out there and Vote
* Voting statistics vary slightly depending on the source.
Additional sources for voting data:
Lead image: shutterstock.com
Edited to make clear that the 126 million who voted in the 2012 presidential election represent “a meager 57.5* percent” of Americans who were eligible to vote.
Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice