Voting: why and why not?

Before I continue my analysis of the U.S. Constitution, I want to explore the topic of voting for a post or two. I’m interested in finding out what voting means to people, why people choose to vote or not, and what the driving issues are behind those decisions.

What I understand from my research so far is that while the voting-age population in the United States has increased since 1930, the percentage of those people who have actually registered and participated have decreased markedly since around 1900. I’ve got data and fancy charts I’ll post in a couple of days.

What I don’t understand is why there’s this drop-off in participation. We’ve gone from nearly 95% participation of registered voters circa 1850 to only 69% of registrants voting for the president in 2004 — meaning George W. Bush won with 39% of registered voters’ approval. The participation is even less during the congressional election cycles.

This is where you come in. Do you vote? If so, why. If not, why not? What are the issues that drive you to vote? Do you feel it makes a difference? If you feel it doesn’t, what about voting makes you feel that way?

I’m trying to understand what people feel about this topic in order to wrestle my observations and see what I can make of them.

Go ahead and post a comment with your response, and send this on to someone — or many someones — you know. Help me try and understand these trends.

I will be posting my findings, calculations, charts, graphs, and analysis on this issue over the next couple of weeks amongst my thoughts on the constitution and the process in general.

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