Ho-Hum: Voter Apathy


NaBloPoMo14DaySixIt seems that everywhere I turned on Election Day I came across people who looked me straight in the eye and said, “I don’t vote.”

As I am always perplexed by this behavior, even more so when I am speaking to women or to members of a minority class, and/or to young people, I asked them “Why?” While there were variations on the theme, mostly the theme was this: “It doesn’t matter anyway. They’re all the same.”

‘”They’re” not all the same’, I tried to tell them. The non-voters remained unconvinced.

As I gave up beating my head against a brick wall long ago and because there wasn’t a soap box in sight for me to stand upon, I mostly just shook my head and walked away. I felt, as I often do during election season, defeated. And sad.

A few of the more honest respondents told me that they didn’t feel comfortable voting, as they had not done any research regarding the candidates. Most referenced a lack of time as being the reason for their ignorance.

Really? They couldn’t find five minutes to search the internet to find out where a candidate stood on this, that, or the other thing? What were they doing with that five minutes? I’ll bet they spent it on the internet anyway — crushing candies, looking for cute shoes, tweeting, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Oddly enough, when I asked these folks how difficult it would have been to find the five minutes necessary for researching a candidate — I mean, let’s face it, in our modern world most people have access to the internet when they are on the toilet! — they admitted to not really knowing what it was, exactly, that was important to them, in their roles as voters. Really?

Have we become that — and I really cannot think of a better word — stupid? There is not one single issue that is important to the average person? “What”, I asked (because I am a persistent woman), “of gun control? Abortion? Fair wages?” Crickets. I got crickets. And blank stares. Hey, at least I got something, right?

Voter apathy is difficult enough to combat, but this? I don’t even know what to call it. I suppose just plain old “apathy” says it all, doesn’t it?

One of my co-workers referenced his need for the latest video game console and intimated that if a candidate was to, say, give one away with every promised vote, he might just head to the polls and cast a ballot for this enterprising future Assemblyman or Council member. I had to patiently explain to my misguided co-worker that such a thing — paying for votes — is illegal under our current system.

The larger question, of course, is how, exactly, do you make inroads with a populace who cares more about the latest video game than it does about electing their political representatives?

And then I had a brilliant idea. Don’t promise to give them MORE technology, threaten to take away the technology they currently have. That might do the trick. Yeah. I’ll bet that would get folks out to the polls.

14 thoughts on “Ho-Hum: Voter Apathy

  1. texdona says:

    I love to vote! I remember voting with my father…this time both of my children who live here voted with us. It was fabulous and even if my folks don’t get in…I tried

    Like

  2. Louise says:

    We just had our local municipal elections here with less than 40% turnout. I don’t get not voting and could go on about the need for civics education etc… but the inability of most candidates to connect with younger voters or various minority or other underrepresented groups always seems to be an issue. I remember writing about it for my university paperover ten years ago. I remember interviewing an 18-year-old Green Party Candidate who while running for office hadn’t bothered to REGISTER TO VOTE.

    That said, I’m involved in my alumni association at my university and deal with engaged young people frequently – who successfully rally and engage other young people to care about university issues – so it boggles my mind how we can’t make the leap from school engagement to municipal engagement and beyond.

    If you find the solution, be sure to post about it!

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      Sadly, there is no viable solution.

      The reality is that the folks who don’t vote will never “get it”.

      In terms of “connecting” with younger voters and/or underrepresented groups, I will say this: candidates go to where they feel they can get the most “bang for their buck”. Their time is important to them as much as it is to anyone else. They are not going to waste their time preaching to groups who won’t go out and vote (for them or anyone else) anyway.

      I was looking at some statistics and found that the largest growing group of voters are Hispanics. This group seems to be voting, regardless of age, at a much higher rate than any other group in the country. I wonder why that is? (I’m all for it, I just have to wonder why.)

      Like

  3. Cathy says:

    You are preaching to the choir, Jackie. The lady at the voting booth told me what a great turnout they were having. Compared to what? My son, heavily involved in politics, has been asking us for weeks if we’re voting. I told him of course, and who taught you in the first place the importance of it? I’m so proud of him cause he spent weeks helping others on their campaigns and to try to get people to vote. Oy, what a country. Taking their rights for granted..

    Like

  4. CaptCruncher says:

    I don’t get it either…. I missed one election my entire voting life (it was a 5 years ago during while we were in the middle of moving from one state to another) and I still feel guilty and like a total slacker for not casting my ballot just that once…. How can you not vote???

    Like

    • javaj240 says:

      I, too, missed an election once — the year I got married. I thought I had sent in my absentee ballot, but realized, when we returned from our honeymoon that I had never mailed it. I am still not over the guilt, LOL!

      Like

  5. I am so with you and am completely disgusted. People can’t be bothered to vote?? Well, they will now see what happens when they don’t.

    Like

  6. angelaweight says:

    It really does make you worry about what the heck is going to happen to our country. Like you said, they care more about the latest video games than researching candidates.

    Like

  7. Voter apathy drives me insane. My solution is to offer each pathetic apathetic voter a one way ticket to a country that doesn’t inconvenience them with free elections. There, they can enjoy all the free time in the world to play video games. Oh, wait….

    Liked by 1 person

Tell Me What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s