DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Dave & Dujanovic: Why don’t people vote?

Oct 28, 2020, 3:34 PM
election results...
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: Voters prepare their ballots in voting booths during early voting for the California presidential primary election at an L.A. County 'vote center' on March 1, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY —  If you vote, you have a chance of changing or maintaining the status quo. If you don’t, you have no chance. So, why don’t people vote? A Utah political expert weighs in on the question.

Huge numbers don’t vote every election

During the 2016 presidential election, 59.2% of the total eligible-voter population in the United States cast a voter. The election of 1908 saw the largest turnout with 65.4% of the voting-age population marking a ballot, according to The American Presidency Project.

In the 2016 General Election, 57.8% of Utah’s voting-eligible population cast a ballot, compared with 55.5 percent in 2012, according to a report by Nonprofit Vote and the U.S. Elections Project as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, joined Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to explain why people don’t vote and why it is so important to do so.

Debbie said her take on why people don’t vote is because they think their vote just won’t count for much. She asked Perry if he agreed.

“That happens so often,” he said. “We hear it all the time: ‘Why would I vote? It doesn’t matter at all, anyway.’ I think you gave the number one reason right there . . . The reality is, it does.”

When does every vote count? Perry cited the 2018 U.S. House race in Utah when candidate Democrat Ben McAdams narrowly unseated Republican Mia Love by 694 votes. 

Why don’t people vote?

“What are some of the best reasons to vote? Give us your top three pitches,” Dave said. 

Perry’s response: 

  1. “Sometimes it is the difference.”
  2. “It’s too easy to think about your one vote as the thing that changes it or not. There is the collective power of our votes . . . not to just maybe change an election, but also where the country really wants policies to go.”
  3. “We’re trying to help [younger voters] establish the pattern, the habits for their lives as well.” Perry added that missing a chance to vote makes it easier to miss the next chance. “That’s a whole generation of missed opportunities to really influence the election process,” Perry said. 

“Do you think even in a loss that you can send a message?” Dave asked.

“When you’re talking about elective officials, they keep track of who wins, but they also keep track of how close it is on the other side,” Perry said.

Pull the levers of power

Debbie referenced an article in Politico published Nov. 3, 2014, titled, “Why Americans Hate Voting”:

“People feel they’re victims of the process, that politics isn’t something to participate in;  it’s something that is done to them. The feeling is getting worse; it’s getting much deeper; it’s covering larger and larger groups within the electorate. . . . Their frustration is much worse than anything I’ve heard before,” said Democratic Party pollster Geoff Garin.  

“I can see why sometimes people feel that way,” Perry said.  ” . . . Keep in mind everything that’s happening in the federal government, everything that’s happening with our elected officials, these are levers of power. And we as voters have a chance to pull on them to some extent. We do not have to be in the position right now to just let these things happen to us. But I’ll tell you what, if we don’t vote, they will happen to us. That is a self-fulfilling prophecy there that you just referred to.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook...
Curt Gresseth

Expert gives tips on conquering your downward social media scroll

Are you addicted to the social-media scroll? An expert weighs in on what you can do to slow the scroll.
5 days ago
High water in the Gardiner River along the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, ...
Curt Gresseth

Be ready for flash flooding: Expert shares advice

An expert with the Utah Division of Emergency Management shares his expertise and crucial tips on how to be ready for flash flooding when you are in a vehicle or at home.
6 days ago
salt lake mayorMendenhall guns...
Curt Gresseth

After NY law is struck down, two Utah experts sound off on gun rights

Two advocates on either side of the gun-control vs. gun rights debate sound off on the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling to expand the right to carry a firearm in public.
11 days ago
Salt Lake County Search and Rescue safely rescued a hiker  out of the Lisa Falls trail on Friday.
P...
Curt Gresseth

Search and rescue expert has tips for hikers

Before you head out on your hike, take someone with you, tell somebody where you are going and when you plan to return. Those are just a few words for hikers from an expert on search and rescue.
12 days ago
A fire engine is seen as the Sheep fire burns in Wrightwood, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Pho...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What to do when wildfires close in on your home

Will you be ready if wildfires close in on your home? A survivor of a wildfire shares his experience and an expert shares tips and advice.
13 days ago
(Photo Credit: CNN/Shutterstock)...
Curt Gresseth

What is behind rising credit-card debt? Financial expert weighs in.

A national expert explains the sudden rise in credit-card debt in April and what you can do to lower your monthly payments.
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Dave & Dujanovic: Why don’t people vote?