Tampa Bay Times by Editorial Board
August 13, 2018
40%of Americans who were eligible to vote for president in 2016 just didn’t bother. That number dwarfs the portion of all eligible voters who cast a ballot for President Donald Trump — 27.6 percent — or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, 28.8 percent. You read that right: More people didn’t vote at all than those who voted for either major party candidate. A healthy democracy requires a healthy electorate, and with the Florida primary looming on Aug. 28 and an important midterm election coming in November, voters need to turn out or a minority of the electorate will call the shots.
The Pew Research Center has released a major study of the demographics of voters and non-voters (https://pewrsr.ch/2MEK82Z). It compared poll responses of its American Trends Panel, a nationally representative group of randomly selected U.S. adults, with actual voter records and other data to establish firmly who voted, who didn’t and the nature of their politics.
The more educated are likelier to vote, as are those who are better off financially. Whites are likelier to vote than non-whites. But the most stunning number was the lack of turnout among voters ages 18 to 29. That age group made up only 13 percent of voters who cast ballots in 2016, while those 65 and older made up 27 percent. Yet, the number of 18- to 29-year-olds is roughly the same as the number of people 65 and older. Let’s hope the activism of the Parkland students and young people like them changes those numbers for the better this year.