Every year, millions of Americans are discouraged, harassed and even forbidden from exercising their most fundamental right in an electoral democracy: the right to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
Nearly half of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 presidential election across the US, according to data of early turnout rates compiled by the United States Election Project.
It wasn't the lowest turnout in history, though. According to Mashable, about 49% of eligible voters didn't participate in the 1996 election, in which Democratic candidate Bill Clinton beat Republican candidate Bob Dole. Unfortunately, we were close to making history. This could, in part, be attributed to the fact that this election was the first one since the 2013 Supreme Court ruling against the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
One of the top issues we should be considering are the voting experiences that people had during the election. It appears that turnout was lower than the 2012 election, something that doesn't happen very often. From voters who were turned away at the polls to voters who decided to stay home this year for their own reasons, my team worked with the Brennan Center and Lincoln Park Strategies to conduct a poll across several key states where voter suppression is often reported to figure out what was behind this drastic decrease in voters. Check out the data in this infographic.
Here's a summary of what we discovered:
- Black voters voted at a higher rate than White or Hispanic voters.
- Millennials and Gen Xers were far more likely to have voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump.
- Hispanic voters were 2x more likely to wait in line for 30-60 minutes or more than white voters.
- 61% of eligible unregistered voters said they couldn't register because they didn't update their address.
- Hispanic voters were 2x more likely to be harassed or called derogatory names before the election than White voters.
- Provisional ballots played a large role in the election and were more likely to have negatively impacted Millennials.
- Hispanic voters were 2x more likely to have their eligibility called into question at the polls than White voters.
- 31% of Americans polled couldn’t get time off of work to go vote.
Our goal was to really look into the causes of people not voting, and we did. My take is simple: I figure that service members and vets risk their lives for us, and to thank 'em, the least we can do is register to vote and then actually vote. It's patriotic, and it shouldn't be hard for eligible voters to do.
The poll was conducted by Rad Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies in late November and polled 3,050 Americans online and 450 Americans by phone in Texas, Florida, North Carolina,Ohio, Wisconsin, and Arizona, as well as the following counties: Mecklenburg (NC), Harris (TX), Orange (FL), Duval (FL), and Broward (FL). California and Minnesota voters were also polled as control states.
Did you vote in this election? What was your experience?