From the high-profile race for president to the often-overlooked campaigns that will determine partisan control of state legislatures, voters have plenty of reasons to participate in this year’s general elections. But tens of millions of U.S. citizens almost certainly will not.
During the last presidential election cycle, 42 percent of the nation’s voting-eligible population did not cast a ballot. Two years ago, overall turnout rates fell to their lowest levels in nearly 75 years, and less than one-quarter of eligible young people (ages 18-34) voted in that off-year election. The historic lows of 2014 will not be repeated this year (a race for president always brings out more voters), but if recent history is any indication, the turnout rates in this country will still trail those of most of the world’s other developed democracies.