Through their Current Population Survey (Voting and Registration), the Census Bureau surveyed Americans who were registered but did not vote in the 2012 presidential election.
The top reasons for not voting were:
- Too busy, conflicting work or school schedules: 20 percent
- Not interested, felt like my vote wouldn’t make a difference: 16 percent
- Illness or disability: 14 percent
- Registration problems: 6 percent
- Didn’t like candidates or campaign issues: 13 percent
- Out of town or away from home: 9 percent
- Forgot to vote or send in absentee ballot: 4 percent
Structural barriers to voting (like a schedule problem) must be addressed by the government through modernization efforts like early voting options and simplifying the registration process with online voter registration. However, other barriers can be addressed by the visible efforts of nonprofits in promoting civic engagement, conducting nonpartisan voter education, and getting out the vote. Your organization is central to informing voters about who and what is on the ballot, giving them both information and a reason to turn out.
Make sure the above reasons don’t stop your community from participating in 2014. Browse our online resource library for tools and materials to get started, register voters, work on ballot measures, and more.