Why Would Someone NOT Vote?

suziequeNovember 6, 2012

I'm not trying to start a firestorm and hope that this won't turn into that. I am also not casting stones. And this is not a political post.

But I am wondering what reasons may be for someone not voting. Do you have friends that don't vote, and if so, what do they give as a reason? I'm genuinely curious. I won't debate the reasons (and please, other responders, please don't), just want to try to understand.

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My DD doesn't vote....says she doesn't want to get her name of a list of possible jurors.
No matter how much I explain voting is a privilege and serving on a jury is a civic duty, it is her choice.
Doesn't make me at all happy.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:25PM
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People that I know that do not vote, have very little knowledge of how the government even runs;( They know nothing so they do nothing!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:38PM
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Since the electoral college determines the winner, rather than us, the voters, one of my daughters does not vote.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:41PM
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Carol - does your dd live in California ? Jury duty list are pulled from many sources, including DMV and vehicle registrations. She might get a surprise summons someday, lol!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:28PM
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The friend I have who does not vote doesn't bother to educate herself. I'm working on her for next time. :) To be fair, some of the props are quite tricky to figure out and you have to learn how to read who is behind them and who is supporting them. It's kind of like figuring out how to take the SAT, imo.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:05AM
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My son almost didn't vote but I told him he couldn't complain if he didn't. He finally decided to vote...only he made the decision to vote for Ron Paul...who he had to write in. He read up and listened to all the candidates and didn't like any of them except for Ron Paul. He said he was making a point with his vote...I told him he was throwing his vote away. Oh, to be young and so naive in thinking anyone cares that your candidate was not given the nomination, so you vote for him anyway to show them the error of their ways. ( :

I wouldn't have done what he did but proud that voted and didn't let me or anyone else sway his vote.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:21AM
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I have never missed an election since the 60's and both my kids follow my example. My parents voted every election too. . It's a duty and you should be fined if you don't vote.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:16AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Fined? Voting is a privilege, not a mandate. The thought of punishment for not voting seems to be un-American....not anti-American.

I appreciate your passion, but I think we need to accept that the right to vote is just that....a right. The second that it becomes a punishable offense NOT to vote is the second we evolve into a full fledged police state.

We cannot make an individual be a good citizen. All we can do as parents, teachers, community leaders, friends, and neighbors is to set a good personal example and to educate those who are interested. My parents were politically informed. We held mock elections in school, government classes were interesting. My brothers and their families are all voters. My SIL, a citizen of England, joined our ranks after many years of living here. Her primary reason for becoming an American citizen was so that she could vote. :-) And complain!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:00AM
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I think people who don't vote don't bother to know what is going on in the world and we are better off that they don't vote.

I can think of numerous reasons though why someone wouldn't bother...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:26AM
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I don't understand the whole "throwing your vote away" thing. Why on earth should you vote for either of the two candidates on the ballot if you dislike both of them? The whole purpose of voting is to voice your opinion of who you think would best serve the country.

Also there are plenty of people who vote who have no idea what or whom they're voting for or any knowledge of the issues.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:55AM
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A lot of people don't vote because they are dissatisfied with the government. It doesn't matter who one votes for or what they say, once they get in, they do whatever they want and go back on their promises.

People refused to take the ballots, or mark them so that they couldn't be counted, as a way of revolting.

A lot of young people don't vote and politicians here are trying to cater to the young university aged kids.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Voting or not voting is our right. I always do, and yesterday, it took me hours to convince my husband to vote (he felt, that in a new house, in a new town, in a new county, he didn't know enough about the candidates/issues).

But honestly? the older I get, the more I understand those who choose not to.

Voter fraud is rampant--all those who have multiple names and addresses to collect duplicate benefits often vote multiple times, to vote for the candidate most likely to give them a raise (more welfare benefits). There's not a dime's worth of difference between the 2 major parties, and no 3rd party candidate has a chance these days. Your vote DOES NOT count in the presidential election--you're only voting for the electors who are not even bound to vote the way the popular vote went (they do, of course, but they don't really have to). Absentee ballots aren't even counted unless the election is close. In our state, the questions aren't binding--the goverment can overide the popular vote with the stroke of a pen--and does. And while I like jury duty, I certainly can understand those who have jobs for whom it is a real hardship to be called up every year, two at the most--we only have to serve once every 2 years, but we get summons much more frequently than that--and then you have to deal with digging out your proof that you served recently. It's hard for people who are already strapped for cash to then lose that pay every couple of years.

I can't imagine not voting, but it's getting to be more and more a waste of time.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Sally Brownlee

My SO did not vote.
He did not like either presidential candidate and said he didn't want to play a part in their future success (or failure).

I am glad he did not vote.
I don't like that some people feel they NEED to vote even when they are uninformed and feel pressure to stick with party lines or vote with a particular demographic. (gender, ethnic, social class, etc)

I believe that many, many people vote based on "groups" they fit in without really understanding much more than the last ad they saw. Campaigns bank on "commercial education" and pressure to "get out and vote"

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:49AM
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After hearing on the business news that Florida had 10 pages to vote on, I'd be hesitant on voting too!!! And apparently there were still 1,000 people in line when the polls closed, but everyone has to be allowed to vote.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:59AM
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Kath, I'm glad he voted. It shows he has the interest, and has done the research, and that was his way of speaking up. He will understand more as time goes on, but I think he should be commended. After all he made the effort to learn, he registered, he made his point.

I congratulate him.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:11AM
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My (late) Mom never voted the entire time I knew her. She last voted for Adlai Stevenson back in the 50's and when he lost, she was very angry. Her way of "protesting" was to not vote. In my eyes, she had no right to complain about the people elected by everyone who did vote. Plus, she was giving away her share.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Jasdip, our county had 2 pages on both sides. I can't imagine a county that had 10! What the heck would they be voting on that we didn't, I wonder? We did have 11 tricky amendments (meaning they were written so you couldn't tell if you were voting for or against the proposal). But several newspapers and the League of Women Voters websites eplained them all very well, if one was interested enough to read--and I was!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Lots of people who live in other countries would risk their lives for the ability to live here, and to vote.

Lots of people die in service for our freedoms.

For me, it is morally incomprehensible that people do not inform themselves, and vote.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:51AM
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"You won't miss it until it's gone." (Talking about our democracy, and our obligation to participate *actively* in preserving it.)

I guess jury-dodgers think they will never be plaintif or defendant in a jury trial.

How long does it take to educate yourself about candidates and issues? Longer than watching a ball game or a movie? Longer than doing a puzzle or reading a book? Oooh, but it's so HARD! LOL

The election yesterday was not solely for President. Are we saying some people don't like ANY of the candidates for ANY office? How do you suppose they get to BE candidates? (Yes, people vote in something called 'primaries'.) Aw, that's too much WORK! Fine, be happy with choices made for you by others who are not too busy -- and who have vested interests of their own.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:24AM
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kathsgrdn, my SO wrote in Ron Paul too. :)

I always vote, but I know some people who choose not to vote, and it has nothing to do with them being uninformed. Most of them are more informed than most people I know who do vote. Unfortunately, plenty of uninformed people vote. I wonder how many people vote ONLY based off what they see on tv/radio and don't even read the pamphlets or the opposing viewpoints?

A lot of people believe our system is flawed and corrupted. We only have two choices, and those two spend millions and millions of dollars trying to get elected. They all take money from special interest groups so they make some of their decisions based on what big corporations tell them to do. Politicians don't do the right thing all the time because of this, or upcoming re-elections, or deals made with people that we have no knowledge of down here being the common citizen.

If you aren't rich or don't pander, you don't make it to the final two. Simple as that. I'd like to see a ballot where we have ten choices and we all receive the same pamphlets telling us what they're about and that's it. No commercials, no phone calls, no selling us the candidates.

I can understand why some people don't want to take part of a system they feel is completely corrupt. That's their right too, being an American. Someone shouldn't have to vote for what they feel is the lesser of two evils if they don't want to.

I've voted for third party candidates before too. I didn't care if some people thought I was throwing my vote away. I voted for who I felt was the best person for the job and I felt that was the right thing to do.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Sally Brownlee

Amy my SO I mentioned above is a combat Vietnam Vet. He saw too many die. He lives with some part of that war EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

We have many freedoms that people choose or choose not to excercise. Could be personal reasons, could be laziness.

I choose to vote, to carry a gun, to practice my religion.
You may, by virtue of the very same freedoms my SO fought for, choose not to.

That's why they fight. So you have choices.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:31AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I think there are probably a lot of good reasons.

Maybe some just don't feel that they have a pony in the race. Think?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:37AM
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People are also willfully ignorant, believing what they want to believe, such as voter fraud, welfare fraud, birthplace, etc. Those "frauds" are virtually non-existant any more. And the statistics are all "googleable."

Voting is a right, and as such, it is one's right to NOT vote. Punishment for not voting is anathema to America and everything it stands for. Like others have said, I wish the misinformed would not vote, but it is still their right to do it.

Here is a link that might be useful: voter fraud

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Some people who move around alot either don't register, or stay long enough to learn about the community and the people living there.--therefore they either can't or don't vote.
Some people who are wanted for crimes will not vote either.
Some people can't vote because they cannot get off from work, but a bit lazy to get an absentee ballot.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Do you know there are states that you don't have to show identification in order to vote? That amazes me. Then there are people who went to vote and were told they already voted by absentee ballot and so were turned away. I think I would become unglued and been arrested if someone stole my vote.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:35PM
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You are right about that Sal. My bad.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:14PM
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I knew when I read the OP that this could NOT be what was requested. Knowing a number of people here would go off on a tangent rather than answer a simple question. Start a different thread to debate it, a healthy debate on it would be good, but why not respect the OP?

So I'll bring this back to the original request:
"But I am wondering what reasons may be for someone not voting. Do you have friends that don't vote, and if so, what do they give as a reason? I'm genuinely curious. I won't debate the reasons (and please, other responders, please don't), just want to try to understand."

I've worked a number of campaigns and elections in various capacities over the years and after talking to people, door knocking, fundraising, fielding questions and other things I've heard a number of reasons WHY people don't/won't vote. Other than being incapacitated, hospitalized at the last minute or something like that, I can't think of legitimate reasons but that's not the question. Some of the reasons I've been given include:

- Some say they feel "it won't do any good"
- Some say they feel that voting for a 3rd party or a write in would be a waste so they won't vote for anyone
- Some say they feel afraid of jury duty, IRS or other retribution.
- Some say they feel it's not a duty to vote.
- Some are "too busy" watching TV or things.
- Some say they feel they don't have the time to vote and that the law that says they get time off to vote isn't effective or they don't want to utilize it.
- Some say they feel it's a protest.
- Some want to disavow any responsibility and this affords them the opportunity to say "Don't blame me - I didn't vote for him/her"
- Some don't believe that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
- Some don't want to stand in line to vote when they could stand in line to spend money somewhere.
- Some don't know that they could vote. (For instance, in MN you can register at the polls)
- Some feel exempt from those who feel if you don't vote, don't complain.
- Some feel there's fraud and legitimate voters can't offset it.
- Some don't know how they feel on an issue or candidate so they don't feel they should vote. Some don't know how to become more informed on it.
- Some listen to the churches, emails and other political groups who tell them not to vote
- Some get so angry with the political ads and posturing starting years before the election they become so numb they won't vote because of that.
- Some say they don't like the "tone" of elections so that's why they won't vote.

I know there's more but can't think of them right now. I really think a number of these should be discussed, in another thread.

Though I've resisted, I have to ask, Azzalea, do you have any documentation to back up the claim "Absentee ballots aren't even counted unless the election is close."?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Thanks, Cynic, you are right about my intent.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Cynic's post reminded me of our last Provincial election.
Mom was in the hospital for several months. Knowing who she wanted to vote for, we got hold of the local office, and someone came and got her vote. So she still felt the need to vote even during a serious illness.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Kathsgarden wrote:
He said he was making a point with his vote...I told him he was throwing his vote away.

Voting for neither candidate, but rather a write-in or other party is a clear signal that NEITHER of the two party candidates is acceptable and is as valid a vote as any. One that your son has every right to, thank god. To say it was a throw away, is ignorant.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:20PM
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I think for some that I'm aware of ... it's a matter of apathy... they just don't care.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Not very Nice, Nycefarm. When you vote for someone who has no possible chance of winning I do think you are throwing your vote away if you vote for that person. He has every right to vote that way but I have every right to think the way I do too. I don't appreciate being called ignorant.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:55PM
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One friend of mine felt like her vote didn't matter. She is a Democrat, but said it seemed like most of the people around her (neighbors/co-workers/teachers) were for Romney, so she thought it was hopeless for her to even vote for Obama. She is pretty young, but I thought it was sad for her to already be jaded by the system. I don't know if she voted or not.

I don't think voting for a 3rd party candidate is throwing away your vote. I think it's making a statement that this % of people aren't satisfied with the Republican or Democrat and want another choice. You are taking away a vote for the top 2. In a close race, mabe the local ones, that would matter. In this day and age, an independent doesn't have a chance, but I think each year, they gain a little support, so maybe one day who knows?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:03PM
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In countries with different forms of government (like parliaments) it is not a waste to vote for a 'third party' candidate. He can be elected and will have some voice in government, however small.

In the American democracy, you 'cut off your nose to spite your face' when you vote for someone with no chance of being elected. Usually, a vote for a third party candidate dilutes support for the major candidate most like him. Your vote effectively aids the major candidate who is least like your third party candidate.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Kathsgrdn writes "Do you know there are states that you don't have to show identification in order to vote? That amazes me." This week my state of Minnesota had an ammendment on the ballot that would require a photo ID to vote. It was defeated. Arguements against it were the cost to the state to issue ID's for people that don't have any and that it would discriminate against many of the elderly who no longer drive. Both arguments seemed feeble to me. (No pun intended.) I'm unsure about how much voter fraud there is.
I live in a very rural area. Our entire township (a block 6 miles square) votes in a one room town hall that is over 100 years old. The population of this 36 square mile area is probably less than 1,000. When I was there a younger couple came in to vote. The election judge struck up a conversation with them asking them where they lived. The young man explained where. The judge says, "Ohhh the old Berg place." Alfred Berg died in about 1978! If you've lived around here for less 30 years you're still a newcomer. I'm not sure how this ties into voter ID, I just thought it was an interesting exchange.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:40PM
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They spent millions on Pa trying to disenfranchise voters and then shortly before election they said you didn't need it this election ,but had to show it. I didn't show it, didn't have it with me, and no one asked to see it. I signed my name beside where I've signed it for 30 years.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:57PM
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