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.
- 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.
Did you vote in this election? What was your experience?
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place