Voting U.S.A.
By A.D. Freudenheim

10 June 2002

Here it is, June, and the mid-term elections of 2002 are only a few months away. Already several states have held their primary elections, giving candidates as much time as they can to battle towards the November general election; other states are more modest, holding primaries in September, which leaves less time for politicking and campaigning. Either way, it is unclear that it makes a tremendous difference, since the largest voting block in the United States continues to be the Non Voting Party.

According to the Federal Election Commission, there were roughly 156 million registered voters at the time of the 2000 election, and of these some 106 million actually voted - a total of 67.5%, or more than two-thirds of registered voters.[1] The U.S. Census Bureau reports positive figures of its own, showing a steady trend of increased registered voters in presidential elections from 1968 to 2000 - from 79 million in 1968 to 110 million, an increase of 39%.[2] The same report, however, also shows a downward trend in actual voters, from 91.2% of registered voters actually voting in 1968, to 2000, where the number percentage is either 67.5% or 85.5%, depending on whether you believe the FEC (the former number) or the Census Bureau (the latter).

Still more data: there are roughly 76 million Americans who are entitled to vote and who are not registered to do so.[3] For the record, that means that 40% of the potential pool of voters does not even bother to try. They provide a plethora of excuses, such as "too busy," the number one contender with 20% of non-voters, and "not interested," the number 3 choice with 12.2%.[4]

Why am I telling you this? Because as bad as the above numbers are, they also reflect votes for presidential elections, the big-draw election held every four years. What is not shown is the significantly more anemic voter response in mid-term election years like this one: poor turnout to the same elections that determine one-third of the Senate, many members of the House of Representatives, and numerous state governors and other officials. The fate of our governance is in our hands, and ironically, despite millions of dollars spent by the candidates on advertising, public relations, phone and mail solicitations, and events - all geared to get us to vote - most of us do nothing.

And that is the most pathetic thing of all.

[1] "Voter Registration and Turnout 2000,"
published by the Federal Election Commission and
available at
[2] "Voting and Registration in the Election of
November 2000", by Amie Jamieson, Hyon B. Shin,
and Jennifer Day, U.S. Census Bureau, February 2002,
page 4. Yes, there is a discrepancy in the total
numbers of voters between the Census Bureau and the
FEC; the FEC draws its numbers from reporting by the
States, while the Census Bureau establishes its numbers
based on responses to its Current Population Surveys.
The Census Bureau's report is available at:
Ibid., page 2
Ibid., page 10
Copyright 2002, by A.D. Freudenheim. May not be used in whole or part without written permission. However, you may link to this page as desired! Contact A. D. Freudenheim for further information.
This page is part of: The Truth As I See It.