Voting may not be on top of many people’s list of priorities given the sheer number of things they have to deal with at any given day. Some people may prefer not to vote while others may fail to do so for different reasons. The underlying reasons for low voter participation during elections are varied. But there are common elements that many non-voters seem to share.
Belief that their does not really count
One vote may seem insignificant in the greater scheme of things. But imagine if more people share that view. The idea that one vote will not have much of an impact is a convenient excuse. However, it is essentially giving away the power to influence the election outcomes. In the end that decision contributes as to the kind of officials will run the government and thus affect the lives of everyone. Inversely, the more people participate in the voting process, the more they strengthen democracy and shape the quality of decision making their leaders make.
Lack of engagement or apathy
Some people have an aversion to politics and any discussion related to it. And negative perceptions about partisan interests and squabbles do not help in promoting engagement. A general feeling of apathy or lack of interest to get involved with anything related to politics is often one of the causes of low voter turnouts during elections. The downside of apathy, apart from not exercising the right to vote, is that it could affect everyone not just the people who opted out of the process.
Perceptions about candidates
There are people who would rather not vote than choose the lesser evil. This usually happens when all candidates are perceived to be undeserving or unqualified for the position they are running for. But choosing not to vote is not a solution. It merely provides an easy way not to get involved. One way to work around this conundrum is to focus on the candidates’ stands on the issues that matter to the voters. Vote not based on likability but on a candidate’s abilities and integrity.
The voting registration process and heading to the polls can be time consuming. Some people have trouble with the registration process either because they were not able to meet the requirements or failed to update their registration on time. While a busy schedule can indeed be a deterrent, it should not be an excuse to forego voting. The challenge is to make time to register, if necessary, and make time to line up at the polls to cast the vote.