According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, there likely will be more non-voters this year than voters. Indeed, turnout in midterm elections typically is less than 40% of the voting-age population.
The survey shows that those who choose not to exercise their franchise likely will be younger, less educated and more financially stressed than those who call themselves likely voters. . . . just 31% of non-voters call themselves conservative compared with 46% of voters. On issues, 52% of non-voters said they favored government providing more services, compared with 61% of likely voters who said they preferred a smaller government that provided fewer services.
On social issues, about the same percentage said they supported immigration reform coupled with stronger enforcement, 44% of likely voters to 43% of non-voters. Of those supporting same-sex marriage, likely voters were at 42% and non-voters at 43%. But likely voters by 50% to 45% outweighed non-voters in opposing same-sex marriage.
From the Los Angeles Times
Probably the single greatest tactical mistake that Democrats have made while in power is their failure to take decisive steps to increase voter turnout.
There are proven steps that can produce higher voter turnout:
* Providing postage with mail-in ballots.
* Allowing election day voter registration.
* Having the government pro-actively registering people to vote.
* Allowing people on parole to vote, a step that increases voter participation not just for those directly affected but because those who have prior criminal convictions are confused and incorrectly think that the ban on parolee voting applies to those who have completed their sentences.
* Shortening the ballot so that people are less intimidated by it and so that it takes less time and effort to cast an informed ballot.
* Using P.R. resources to remind people of election day.
* Some countries, like Australia, actually fine people for not casting a ballot (although those ideologically oppposed to voting can spoil their ballot).
It isn't the place of the government to tell people how to vote. But, there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to vote.
This doesn't have to be done nationally to have an impact. State and local governments can act, and they can do so without constitutional amendments, or changes in federal law. The American system of government was designed to balance out different levels of voter turnout in different states. Turnout in one state doesn't change its number of electoral votes for the President, its number of Senators or its number of Representatives in Congress. But, higher turnout does make it more likely that those people really represent their entire constituencies.
Higher voter turnout also increases faith in government, and loyalty to government. Voting strengthens ties to the government even in one party states like the former regimes of the Soviet Union and Iraq where there was only one candidate and hence, no real choice. The ties strengthen even more in systems where people have a choice, and those stronger ties are good for society as a whole.
As it is, the American electorate is systemically more liberal in Presidential election years, and systemically less liberal in midterm elections. Do Yo-Yo politics make sense as a way to run a country?
If you haven't voted yet, be sure to turn in your mail-in ballot today or tomorrow, and to show up to the polls tomorrow to vote if you haven't gotten a mail-in ballot. In Colorado, mail-in ballots must be received by election day to be counted; it is to late to mail your ballot now.
If you aren't registered to vote, you've blown it this cycle, but you should register to vote today, so that you can vote in the next election. In Colorado, this can even be done online if you have a state ID.