Will ‘None of the Above’ Win the Presidential Election (Again)?

vote you are important
Margot McGuire, 64, a retired certified public accountant (CPA) of Manhattan urges commuters to vote at the Union Square subway station on Election Day on November 6, 2018. Photo credit: © G. Ronald Lopez/ZUMA Wire
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Will President Donald Trump be reelected — by people who do not vote?

American presidential candidates who get elected do not necessarily represent the will of the people — because they don’t generally get the support of the majority of eligible voters.

In 2016, roughly 100 million eligible voters didn’t cast a ballot. They accounted for about 43 percent of eligible voters, which dwarfs the total of either candidate. Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote, only attracted the support of 28.43 percent of eligible Americans. That is a difference of 35 million people.

“If not voting was a presidential candidate, they won by a landslide,” John Brakey, election transparency activist and founder of AUDIT-USA in Arizona, told WhoWhatWhy.

A LendEDU poll last year showed that 35 percent of Americans would be willing to give up their right to ever vote again as long as they live, if guaranteed an immediate 10 percent annual raise in their salary.

Those figures seem to validate the apathy identified in the LendEDU poll. They show that a plurality of Americans continue to dictate elections not by who they are voting for — but rather by their choice to not vote at all.

“[There are] probably a lot of people who voted in that poll who … don’t believe elections are real,” Brakey said. “So they’ll take the money.”


People who don’t vote decide elections. Photo credit: Steve Rhodes / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The poll also showed that nine percent would give up their child’s, or future child’s, right to ever vote — just for a pay raise.

That figure seems to indicate that a sizable number of Americans simply do not believe in democracy.

“I can understand maybe how that first group felt, but now they’re compromising their children,” Brakey said. “That’s troubling to me because I could never do that.”

The election integrity activist expressed concern over a low participation rate in 2020, noting that turnout could fall below 50 percent if Americans are disenchanted by their choices.

The US lags far behind most other democracies when it comes to turnout. There are lots of reasons why. Structural problems include that Election Day is not a federal holiday and voters are not registered automatically when they turn 18.

Protecting Our Vote 2020

In addition, voter suppression is playing a major role in reducing the turnout of minorities — especially in states with a history of discrimination.

Then there is the two-party system which deprives voters of a variety of candidates to choose from. And because of the Electoral College, not every vote counts the same and the outcome of presidential balloting in many states is never in doubt.

However, there were some encouraging trends in the 2018 midterms. Turnout among most demographics was up, especially among young voters who are traditionally not showing up for elections.

The Census Bureau reported that voter turnout among voters between the ages of 18 and 29 went from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018. This was the largest percentage point increase for any age group.

Based on those numbers, there is hope voters will pick up where they left off in 2018. Still, based on recent precedent, it is more than likely that not showing up will, once again, be the most popular option when Americans head to the polls next year.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from uacescomm / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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5 responses to “Will ‘None of the Above’ Win the Presidential Election (Again)?”

  1. ‘If not voting was a presidential candidate, they won by a landslide,” John Brakey, election transparency activist and founder of AUDIT USA in Arizona, told WhoWhatWhy.’ Sadly, when people come to that conclusion, many just stop voting! As Christine Mose did when she wrote: “voting has become an act of endorsing your own systematic oppression and perpetuates the illusion that we live in a functioning democracy!” I referred to these voters as belonging to the Mark Twain party. (And it is growing) Twain said: “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” To fix this problem we need elections in this country that are transparent, trackable and publicly verified. Many people don’t vote because they don’t believe elections are real. Our job is to make them real by offering a realistic solution such as Transparency! Through that transparency gives the system a tetanus shot against a virus from hackers. Ballot images are impunity busters and are public record. Here is what we at AUDIT USA are doing in North Carolina: http://bit.ly/2Z2pRu7

  2. The apathy in voting, particularly in presidential elections, is the result of the corruption that prevails in Washington, D.C., regardless of which of the two political parties is in power.

    It becomes more and more evident all the time that a shadow government, totally given over to powerful special interests, runs things in Washington, not elected officials, most of whom are also bought and paid for by SIs.

  3. dogsface says:

    I would love to sent this information on to my local Democratic Parties. But they already know ‘everything’ and they think that just waiting to vote will “fix” everything. Well….I can tell you it won’t. Dems are tone deaf and they just keep doing the same thing over and over again.

    We cannot keep turning the other cheek and expecting a fair shake. The streets are where the people belong and until that happens there is no hope. A bully will keep doing what he can unless you give him a reason to stop.

    • Steve says:

      WOW! I read your comment just now (5:30 PM May 25). The fact that there is only your one comment on this article kinda shows the level of apathy out there…and therein lies the rub….or the confirmation of the lack of interest in participation in our “democracy”!! Sure, if Biden is going to be the front runner….Democrats are screwed….not to mention the whole country!! C’mon people…at least we don’t have Hillary for the other choice this time!!!

  4. Brian says:

    “That figure seems to indicate that a sizable number of Americans simply don’t believe in democracy.”
    Or perhaps they feel like the system is rigged, because it is. Why would Americans waste their time voting on easily corruptible voting machines, more than 1/2 with no paper trail to audit?
    How can you write an article about resent elections and voter apathy, and not bring this subject up?