Cara Demers: Who’s voting in 2016?

aThere’s no avoiding the whirlwind that comes with the 2016 elections. It’s also no secret that in past, many Americans have failed to turn up at the polls to vote, whether it is the primaries or even the larger Presidential elections.

Yet still, one candidate always wins and one always loses. So who exactly is voting for that winner?

In a study conducted back during the 2014 midterm elections, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that our country’s nonvoters—described as individuals who are either not registered to vote, or are considered unlikely to do so—are the exact opposite, demographically, of those who will vote.

bThe study attributes three major categories that contribute to whether someone will vote or not: age, race and education. From the study:

  • Nonvoters are typically young. In fact, 34 percent of them are under 30 and 70 percent are under 50. This article makes some points as to why some young people may decide not to vote.
  • Nonvoters are typically racially/ethnically diverse: 43 percent are Hispanic, African American or another racial minority.
  • Nonvoters tend to be less educated than those who do vote. The study found that while 72 percent of likely voters have completed at least some college, 43 percent of those who don’t vote did not attend any sort of college.

So what can we do to close this voting gap? According to the public policy organization Demos, tweaking our voter registration laws and policies may make a difference, as might allowing for more same day registration at the polls. You can read more on what Demo has to say about voter turnout here.


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