Some people cannot or will not vote for real-world reasons.
My wife and I have been on the streets of Phoenix registering new voters this election season. You would be amazed how many people cannot vote, or will not.
Felons, for example, are forbidden to. Surprisingly both felons and ex-felons that we spoke with tended to admit up front that’s what they are. Of course plenty of people are not full-blown felons, but are hiding outside the law. Consider folks with multiple DUI’s, missed court dates, or persistent creditors from hell. Voter registration would shed more light on them than they want.
Plenty of Americans say they are working hard to keep the government out of their affairs. They can, and do, choose not to have government ID’s like driving licenses, medical cards, and voter registration cards. Because social security cards are issued to us as children, very few people can escape that ID, but they can still choose to reject nearly everything else. And we all know that plenty of people earn their living from unreported cash. We are not only talking about illegal immigrants.
Some politicos are pushing legislatures to make voter registration automatic for all citizens. I wonderful if they know they will get blowback from the many people who do not want to be on the grid, automatically or any other way.
We even met a few individuals who wanted to escape jury duty because, as you know, voter registration rolls are often the data source to locate jury candidates.
Homeless people want to get registered, but life can be so challenging that addresses and other contact info become quickly obsolete. So they may opt to not even try.
The saddest reasons we have heard for not registering deal with mistrust and disgust. Thousands honestly feel their votes do not matter. Many say they know nothing about the candidates or about the issues — which is probably true in most cases. Plenty believe the system is rigged.
If you are an idealist who hopes for a hundred percent voter turnout, you must realize that’s an impossibility. On the other hand, the citizens who choose to vote continue to be the majority, at least we hope so. That’s why we’re in train stations, bookstores, and neighborhoods signing people up.