First some numbers. I know some of you just love numbers.
According to the US Census Bureau in 2008 around 71% of eligible voters were registered to vote and of these, only 63.6% actually voted in that election.
69.1% of Men were registered of whom only 61.5% voted
72.8% of Women were registered of whom 65.7% voted
72% of Whites were registered of whom 64.4% voted
69.7% of Blacks were registered of whom 64.7% voted
55.3% of Asians were registered of whom 47.6% voted
59.4% of Hispanics were registered of whom 49.6% voted
Of those with less than 8 years of schooling 49.1% were registered of whom 38.1% voted
Of those with high school or GED education 64.1% were registered of whom 54.9% voted
Of those with some college 75.3% were registered of whom 68% voted
Of those with bachelors or above, 82.7% were registered of whom 78.9% voted
Of those employed 72.8% were registered of whom 65.7% voted
Of those unemployed 64.1% were registered of whom 54.7% voted
Of those not in the labor force, 68.3% were registered of whom 60.3% voted
As for those of voting age who are registered and vote in national elections for President and US Representatives:
Only 57.1% voted for President and only 53.3% voted for their US Representative in 2008.
In 2010, only 37% of voting age people voted for their US Representative.
What do these numbers indicate?
First thing that jumps off the page for me is the fact that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to register and vote. What I didn’t realize, and actually runs counter to what I have believed, if you are working, you ARE MORE LIKELY to register and vote. Whites and Women are more likely to register and vote than are males and minorities. What I didn’t show you; however, is that the numbers of minorities registering and voting has been increasing. The biggest number that came out from this investigation is that despite the percentile of people of whatever denomination voting in an election, only a portion of them actually vote for President, and even fewer vote for their US Representative.
That is fascinating. Anyone who understands basic US Civics knows that nothing can happen in this country in terms of domestic policy unless it starts in the House of Representatives. The current popularity of the House is at 9%. But what do you expect when only 37% of the people old enough to vote in 2010 voted for a House member. As a result, we ended up with one of the worst Congress in history. If you don’t vote, you get what you deserve.
Other studies and polls have shown that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to vote for progressive causes and candidates. As we see, the more educated you are the more likely you are to register and vote. So is it any wonder that the GOP representation in Congress would want to make higher education harder to come by slashing funding for Pell Grants, increasing interest rates for College loans, etc. We are graduating fewer and fewer people from College these days. This isn’t what the Founders intended. In fact, in keeping with the whole concept of a Government of and by the People, they knew that only a well-educated populace could govern. Early in our history most advanced college education was in fact free or nearly free of charge. Tax payers supplemented tuition costs for those who went to college. Over time, these programs were slashed from state budgets and we are where we are today.
Now the numbers for those employed actually registering and voting more often than those unemployed, but still trying to find work. Is this why Congress won’t lift a finger to promote job bills? Possibly, but I still wouldn’t discount the possibility that they stall on job creation in order to stagnate the economic growth of the country and blame the President for it.
Polling is showing that the President has more support from Women, Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities by ever-growing margins than Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP have. This makes perfect sense considering the misogynist and anti-minority legislation coming from these people. Looking at the numbers of those who actually register too, it makes even more sense.
The saddest numbers in this presentation from my point of view isn’t that only 71% of our nation even bothers to register and vote in some of the elections in the land, but it’s that just 57% take the time to vote for their President and even fewer vote for the Representative in Congress. It shows an increasing apathy towards our government that our Founders wanted us to lead via the ballot box. People complain about Congress and the President of either party, yet less than two-thirds take the time to vote for their leadership. Is it voter apathy? Considering the increasing partisan tone of our elections that is a fair bet. Maybe it’s by design. A GOP strategist Paul Weyrich (who went on to create and lead ALEC) once said, “We don’t want everyone voting…”
Government of the People and by the People requires the People to get involved and at the very least study the issues and candidates and vote. When you don’t, you end up with the mess we have today with a Congress of whom only 37% of the nation voted for stalling the entire nation’s growth out of this recession. This is where we need to be more like Europe and other countries that make voting mandatory.
If you are not willing to take the time to vote, then don’t go crying about lack of democracy in this nation because you have already abdicated that and deserve control of an Oligarchy that many on the right are trying to install, possibly by design, via their policy and voter suppression. Get out and get active and for God’s sake, REGISTER AND VOTE FOR YOUR DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON IT.