Thursday, November 04, 2010

Campaign 2010 - What about the 131 million eligible voters who did not vote? Don't they count too?


I think we get so caught up in the two party propaganda we forget that there is a whole lot of America that cannot be found in the Democrat or Republican parties. Preliminary estimates are that about 87 million voted in the Midterm election. That would be about 40% of eligible voters, down significantly from the 60% turnout and 132 million who voted in the 2008 Presidential election. A 20% drop off between Presidential and non-presidential election years is not surprising but a little sad.

However, that means 131 million eligible voters did not participate in the election this year, about 60% of the people. How about some meaningful math? There are about 232 million Americans of voting age. About 94% are eligible to vote, about 218 million. The other 6% are ineligible for reasons ranging from criminal records to immigration status.

Of the eligible to vote, 80% are registered to vote, about 175 million. That means 43 million people who are of voting age and eligible to vote choose not to participate in the voting process. As for the 175 million registered voters, about 64 million are Independents, 60 million Democrats and 51 million Republicans. You can see why the Independents swing the election. Obama and the Democrats won the Independents in 2008 and won the election. The Republicans won the Independents in 2010 and won the election.

I have long advocated that it is a shame the greatest Democracy in world history only has 40-60% of the eligible voters participating in the election. To correct this we should treat federal elections with the importance they deserve. We have a holiday for dead presidents and others but no holiday for the one day when we exercise the most important right guaranteed by our Constitution, our individual freedom to vote.

A national holiday should be declared to take place every other year on presidential and non-presidential election day and all government, commerce and industry should be shut down to allow everyone to vote.. I mean this is the most important thing we can do as Americans to honor our Founding Fathers. Voter registration must be improved to reach the voting age people through the Internet, computers, driver license records and any way possible.

Can't we give up one day every other year to honor our heritage and strengthen our participation in the process of Democracy we have fought for 234 years to protect? That way the majority will truly rule and 131 million people won't be ignored. Sounds American to me.

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