By some accounts, half of the eligible voters in the US don't vote. I enquired last week with the South Carolina election commission about purchasing the list of all registered voters for my district - South Carolina's 1st Congressional district - the Lowcountry. I haven't bought it yet (don't yet have the $1,000 to spare), but apparently there are 490,000 people on that list. Since the district has been in it's current configuration, a maximum of 290,000 people have voted - 59% of eligible voters - in any election.
I've heard it said by the Democrats in South Carolina, at pretty much every meeting, that "if we all came out to vote, we would win". Seeing as since the flip of the "southern strategy" in the Nixon Administration there have been nothing but Republican butts sitting in this seat I'm vying for, I want to test that adage this year.
Of course the trick is in getting ALL the democrats out to vote.
Since this is my job now, (unpaid, thank you), I travel around the district and talk to people (strangers!) and hear their stories and concerns. I met a guy a few days ago who summed up what I think is the primary reason so many people don't vote. He said,
"I don't vote because my life is the same no matter who is elected".
This guy earns $12 an hour, often has weeks of less than 40 hours of work, has no health insurance, no college education, no paid vacation, no sick leave, relies on a POS scooter for transportation (I met him because he needed a jump to get it started), is monthly stopped by the cops for DWB, and lives in the highest crime part of Charleston because he can't afford to live anywhere else. If ANYONE could benefit from the programs all Democratic candidates are talking about this year, it's this guy.
It was very easy to get him to reconsider his stance on voting as soon as I told him about Universal Healthcare and a Living Wage. But how do we get in front of the 200,000 people or more in the Lowcountry that are just like him? I'm wide open to suggestions.
OK. That above is the gist of what I'm fishing for today. But the academic in me wants to provide some backup information.
Nearly 100% of the top 1% of earners in America vote.
If voting doesn't matter, do you think the rich would be doing it in such great numbers?
Below is the link to a good article discussing the ideas involved. Of particular interest to me is the thought that the people who DO vote, are a pretty good representation of the people who don't vote. Apparently that is not true.