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EDITORIAL

Who didn’t vote in Bucks County?

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The voter turnout in Bucks County this past November was 65.8% of the registered voters of Bucks County. This turnout was incredibly close to the percent of registered voters (65.0) who voted four years earlier in the previous general/non-presidential election (2018).

Thus, 1 out of 3 registered voters declined to speak their voice about who would represent them, at the national and state level. If you add to that number the Bucks County citizens who were not eligible to vote, either because they have never registered to vote or because their registration was no longer valid due to a recent name or address change or five years of inactivity, the proportion of citizens who did not vote would be higher than 1 out of 3. Possibly much higher. Since Bucks County has no-excuse mail-in ballots and accessible polling places, this is presumably not due to voter suppression. Rather, it is due to self-disenfranchisement.

This raises three important questions. First, given the crisis to our democracy that this recent election was addressing, the number of important positions on the ballot, and the extensive media coverage of the election, why didn’t the percent of voters increase from the previous (2018) general/non-presidential election?

Second, who are these non-voters?(Young? Old? Male? Female? Republican? Democratic? Independent?)

Third, why did they decline to participate?

Why didn’t one-third of the registered citizens vote? And why didn’t unregistered citizens register so that they could vote in this incredibly important election? Voting is the one situation in which every citizen is as important as every other citizen – one person, one vote. Yet more than out of three Bucks County voters forfeited their vote. WHY?

The League of Women Voters exists to protect and expand voting rights and to ensure that everyone is represented in our democracy. The Bucks County League’s mission statement states: “We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate.” So, in this article, we are asking people who did NOT vote to share with us their reason(s) for not voting.

We truly desire…. and need….to understand. Our goal is to educate. To educate, we must understand.

Here is how you can help. If you did NOT vote in the November 8, 2022 election, please send an email to LWVBucksPA@gmail.com.

In the subject line, type “WHY I DID NOT VOTE.” Then, in the body of your e-mail, complete this sentence: “I did not vote because…….”

Please also provide the following demographic information: (1) gender; (2) age; (3) political affiliation. Finally, (4) tell us if you are registered to vote. Do not include your name. Please send us your e-mail on or before Wednesday, Dec. 21.

In a future article in the Bucks County Herald, the League will report the findings of this survey. It is hoped that the findings will provide us and others interested in getting more citizens to vote with useful information for future elections; perhaps the findings will also make it more likely that you will join us as a participant in our shared democracy. Thank you for your honest input.

If you are reading this article and you know a friend, acquaintance or family member who did not vote in November, please give them this article and encourage them to provide the above information to us. Thank you.

For information about the League of Women Voters, go to lwvbucks.org.


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