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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

Why don't people vote anymore

It is now a week after the midterm election. Not only did I find the results immensely interesting, but the turnout also fascinated me.

On the night that decided 36 Senate seats, 36 governors’ seats and 435 — all of them in case you were wondering — House seats, only 36.6 percent of the eligible voting population showed up to vote.

Two-thirds of the voting population in this country chose, for whatever reason, not to vote. This was down from 40.9 percent in the 2010 midterm election, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project. To actually see the number is staggering.

To put it a little more close to home, IU has roughly 40,000 students. And let’s say, each of us were given the opportunity to decide who was going to lead the University. And I am not talking about the student government framework we currently have — I’m not sure there is an elected body with as little real power as them.

I’m talking about a real leadership body. It would be more akin to the IU Board of Trustees running for their seats. Of the 40,000 of us, only 14,640 would actually show up and vote. More than half of the student body, 20,000-plus, would not take part in something that has direct consequences for their lives.

So why is this true? Why do so many people fail to show up?

Of course you have those that simply didn’t have time or it slipped their mind, but that, in my mind, couldn’t be more than a few percent. So we are left with millions of people who could vote but didn’t. Millions of people that thought about it and decided it wasn’t worth it.

Of those I know personally who abstain, overwhelmingly the reasoning they provide when pressed is “it doesn’t really matter in the end” or “my voice is only one of millions.”

This is true. You only get one vote. And in fact I have even been told in an economics class of mine that the individual voter has no real incentive to vote, as the cost in time to become informed isn’t worth the single vote cast.

But the irony is, if the two-thirds of voters who didn’t vote on Tuesday had, they could have elected any person they chose.

Think about it. Say, the two-thirds that didn’t vote didn’t vote because they didn’t want a Republican or a Democrat. If they all had voted, they could have voted in an Independent, a Libertarian or even an undecided.

Yes, I understand that undecided isn’t a party, but you get the point. The combined Republicans and Democrats that voted couldn’t even stop them.

In short, I think my economics class was wrong. I think it is worth it to become informed and vote. You never know if the single voice you’re lending is part of a political symphony of change.

I don’t think it should be thought of as each of us getting one vote out of millions but rather millions of us each getting one vote. Subtle difference, yes. ?Irrelevant difference, no.

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