‘The times that I’ve spent to get a little bit more educated, all the options suck…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has sought to make claims of voter suppression her signature issue as she aims to ride indignation about disfranchisement all the way to the White House.
Abrams acknowledged this week that she was angling for a potential vice-president spot, regardless of which Democrat may be at the top of the ticket.
“My best service is to be in that neutral space where it’s not about who the nominee is, it’s about making sure no matter who the nominee is, any person who wants to go and vote can vote,” Abrams said, promoting her political action committee Fair Fight.
But the voter-suppression issue may be a losing one for those she hopes to mobilize.
“Democratic campaign committees and activist groups have been spending millions of dollars to fight against a range of legal obstacles on voting, believing that making voter registration easier and keeping polls open longer would inspire more Americans to turn out,” said a recent Politico analysis. “But to nonvoters themselves, those issues don’t seem to be at the forefront of their minds.”
The Politico report was based on an extensive survey of 12,000 “chronic nonvoters” released by the Knight Foundation. It said the reasons often cited by Abrams and other voter-suppression activists, such as a lack of access or failure to register in time, ranked only in the single digits.
By far, the biggest reason for sitting out an election was that nonvoters didn’t like the candidates, the survey noted.
“The times that I’ve spent to get a little bit more educated, all the options suck,” said one Milwaukee voter in a focus group. “I don’t feel like one is great so I’m not going to vote at all.”
Other reasons in the top 5 included a belief that their vote doesn’t matter and that the system was “corrupt.”
Both seem particularly appropriate given Democrats’ current fears of a brokered convention that would empower super-delegates to decide instead of primary voters. However, neither touches directly on the claims that the polling places, themselves, were the source of the problem.
Nonvoters also said that they were “not interested” and that they “don’t know the candidates” among their top 5 reasons.
That is sure to offer a clear-cut incumbency advantage to President Donald Trump, whose name recognition has only been helped by the Democratic smear efforts against him and attempts to make the November election more about Trump than their own visions.
Only 3 percent of voters said a more convenient process would make them more likely to register to vote.
Naturally, voter-suppression activists sought to downplay the finding, suggesting that the low-info nonvoters failed even to understand their own motivations for non-participation, and that the left-wing activists, instead, knew what was best for them.
“Asking people to draw the causal link between a legal regime and their behavior, I think, is difficult, and I don’t know if it’s the most reliable way to figure out how laws affect human behavior,”Dale Ho, director of the ACLU voting rights project, told Politico.
In fact, even the researchers who conducted the study themselves—hoping to reaffirm rather than refute the activist efforts—scrambled to disavow their own methodology.
“To find out the effects of [restrictive voting laws], you really don’t want to ask voters about it,” said Eitan Hersh, a political science professor at Tufts University who advised the study. “They really don’t have a feel of how institutions’ rules affect them.”