Colin Woodard, Jerry Mander, Knight Foundation discussed on 1A

KQED Radio
| KQED Radio


This is one, eh? I'm Jen White in Washington. For some voting is seen as the bedrock of our democracy. People fought and died for the right to vote, and some are still fighting to protect that, right to this day, even get a sticker for showing up to the poles. So why? Then did nearly 100 million eligible Americans not vote? What we asked you, And here's what you told us. I'm George from Seattle and also tell you why I don't vote in elections. The way I used to. I still vote for an issue. Did that thing where I have direct comment. Direct impact on the result. But the district I live in and most states are so Jerry mattered that it doesn't really ultimately matter who's in charge. My name is Thomas. I am early fifties. I've never voted today in my life, and it is due to religious reasons. This is Lee Wilson out of stressful Alabama. I myself and the millennial. And find the area that I live in is so Jerry Mander. It fills frivolous to go cast a vote. Besides that, just of the process of finding a fine time to get off of work, and voting is not a holiday. Hi. This is Bill from Philadelphia. And I'm actually calling in response to asking the question. Why we don't vote. I don't vote And the reason I don't vote is because nothing ever changes. You know, it just makes it worthless. It really does make it worthless. It really doesn't matter. A study published by the Knight Foundation earlier this year was one of the biggest to look into the habits of non voters. What they found was that this group is just a cz diverse and complicated as the rest of the country here to talk about why so many people are choosing not to vote and what it means for not just 2020, but for our democracy is Colin Woodard, contributing editor for Political magazine and author of Union. The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States nationhood, Colin. Welcome to one, eh? A pleasure to be here also with us. Bernard Fraga, associate professor of political science at Emory University and author of the Turnout, Gap, Race, Ethnicity and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America, Professor Fraga welcome. Thanks so much for having me so column We just heard from some folks there about why they're choosing not to vote. But why? What are some of the other reasons people don't vote? They expressed some of them. I mean, the broadly speaking, there are a lot of reasons that non voters don't vote and they sorted into clusters. But you hear time and time again, a combination of either A lack of enthusiasm or belief in the candidates and that the candidates will affect change for them or that the system itself, broadly speaking, no longer is able to deliver the sort of changes and policies that they might want or that the system itself is corrupted or that they don't understand it either their lives or too busy, or they're just interested from it. To feel that they can put in the time to make the educated choices to decide which candidate they might vote for what policies they might be voting for something that many people find get is getting more complicated. As the media environment has fractured and become more polarised for people who don't you know, in quotes followed this stuff all the time. I think it's getting harder and harder to know how to sort you know fact from fiction and and to be able to sort of figure out just what is going on. If you're not following the stuff regularly, combination of reasons when we talk about a non voter, how are we defining that? Well. The Knight Foundation study, which is the most comprehensive look yet off nonvoters defined it as a person who's at least 25, who on Lee voted in one of the election cycle, since 2008 essentially wanting to make sure that you've been an eligible voter long enough to Confirm your track record as being a non voter and that you're very seldom vote professor of Praga. You've looked at voter turnout by demographics, which group turnout, which groups rather turn out to vote, the most and which turn out the least. Sure so the patterns we've seen historically and the trains were likely to see in 2020 indicate that older Americans more wealthy Americans, more politically interested involved. Americans are far more likely to vote than younger people than racial, ethnic minority groups and then people who are just disengaged from the political process. Why are young people so much less likely to vote? There's a number of reasons and we heard some of them earlier from the collars right. One part might be because it's difficult to register to vote for the first time. Some states are very stringent about their requirements for Documents you need to produce in order to register. In addition, young people are very mobile population. They're moving around a lot changing residency, and each time we need to re register to vote. Every state has different rules, different requirements, and those are difficult to navigate, especially for a young person hasn't voted a lot. And I'm wondering Colin whether that might haven't even deeper impact this year with Pandemic and people maybe not having access to the normal means by which they'd register to vote. Yes, well, the pandemic throws a wrench into everything of the the data and understanding and scholarly studies we've done all predate the pandemic. And so the fact that actually going to your poles to vote could endanger your health and that of those around you, and it's also perhaps causing a further consolidation of polling places. There may be a shortage of polling workers that compels even fewer polling stations because many polling volunteers are older and therefore on high risk groups. So, yes, it it compounds things a great deal, and to the extent that They're segments of non voters that don't vote because they feel like it's few child or that it doesn't matter The fact that we're now worried about thie security and effectiveness of mail and voting. Because of the delays in the Postal Service, and the president's remarks on it is probably only increasing the sort of cynicism so yeah, there's a lot of factors that play that.

Coming up next