Low voter turnout in America may not be just apathy

MARQUETTE — As we near election day, one decision that voters face, outside of whom to vote for, is whether or not to even vote at all.

ABC 10 spoke with Tom Baldini, a professor of political science at NMU, about the country’s low voter turnout.

Baldini said one of the major reasons for the low turnout is that it’s not always convenient to vote. One of the inconveniences is the day on which we vote, Tuesday, while most other countries vote on weekends or set aside a holiday for the occasion.

He also cited the seemingly arbitrary voter registration rules as an issue.

“There may be also the problem, and I think not may, is, the problem with some people saying, ‘What’s the difference, Tweedledee, Tweedledum,'” Baldini said. “Especially this year, candidates are not discussing issues. We’re really telling the other people what you did or don’t stand for. Maybe we have to start mandating somehow that we will have public forums where candidates will discuss issues.”

Baldini went on to say that low turnout isn’t always the case of young people just not voting, as was evidenced by the high turnout of voters under 30 during the 2008 election.

“The young people do have a real clout, but it gets back to that structural problem I talked about,” he said. “I’m off to college, OK? And I leave my state, I leave my home, I go to another community. It’s very difficult for me to vote – I have to get an absentee ballot, people question that – so we do put those hindrances in that place.”

It should be noted that in Michigan first time voters can’t vote via absentee ballot.

Baldini made the argument that who we, as voters, send to Congress and elect as governor, does make a difference and at the end of the day, if you don’t vote, you’ve still voted.