I’ve seen a lot of people address undecided voters, and protest voters this year. But not a lot of time spent on those abstaining from the practice altogether.
I can understand not voting if life gets in the way. I’ve missed votes because of work schedules, traveling and just not getting registered in time. These aren’t necessarily good excuses, but they make infinitely more sense than someone actively choosing not to vote.
These are people who feel that because the system is corrupt and the candidates are shady, and that any participation in the process is worthless. They say “I don’t vote” with the same moral smugness that an anti-choicer will use to tell you about how birth control pills are evil and invented by Lord Satan.
If this describes you, and you think of not voting as an act of protest, just remember that protests only work if they are noticed. And politicians aren’t counting the votes that went to no one. When they do notice the absence of voters they expected to show up, they never say, “Well shucks, I guess I should be more idealistic. The people have spoken.” No. They dismiss the ones that didn’t show up as lazy and they focus on pandering to the voters that gave enough of a shit to participate.
Even voting for a 3rd party candidate gets your vote counted and lets the major parties know that they need to shift their focus. That’s right, not voting is more useless than throwing your vote away.