You didn’t vote? Why not?

Minnesota can be pretty proud of itself again now that preliminary statistics show that the state has likely led the nation in voter turnout.

About 74 percent of the eligible voters cast ballots on Tuesday, the Star Tribune reports today. That puts us a little ahead of New Hampshire and that’s impressive because the Granite State had a statewide election; Minnesota didn’t.


Seventy-four percent of eligible Minnesotans voted. But that’s down from the last election, which was down from the election before that.

Had we matched 2012’s turnout, another 78,000 people would’ve voted.


Nationwide, according to the United States Election Project, the turnout was only 56.9%.

We haven’t heard from the 78,000 since Tuesday’s vote. We don’t know what they were doing instead and today would be a good day to ask them.

The chances are that they complain their vote didn’t count, or that the candidates for presidents simply didn’t suit them, a massive declaration of ignorance since the entire Minnesota House of Representatives hung in the balance, and so did a large share of the Minnesota Senate.

We’ve heard from the happy voters and the angry voters. Let’s hear from you today, 78,000. Tell us about your life and whether you think civic disengagement is a way to improve it.

  • Gary F

    The precinct I worked at on Tuesday had 92%, of which about 20% were absentee ballots.

    The media and the pollsters all told us that Hillary was to be crowned that day, so many just stayed home.

    • There’s no data to confirm that. But even if it were, it’s speaks to voter ignorance for the reasons previously stated.

      But these turnout rates have been <60% for generations. This isn't anything really new.

      I wouldn't mind it if pundits — professional or not — stopped trying to peddle what they think as what they know.

      • L. Foonimin

        I’m not sure if we really want people so disconected from what is happening in society to vote.

        • RBHolb

          We should want everyone who is eligible to vote.

      • Rob

        But that would swell the jobless rolls.

      • jon

        The data is there, and it does confirm what Gary said, for SOME states…

        In MI trump only got a few more votes than romney did 4 years ago, but clinton got substantially less than Obama did… 3rd parties increase on the ballot makes up for a small percentage for those lost votes, but turn out had a large impact too…

        Meanwhile in PA Hillary got a similar number of votes to what Obama did 4 years ago but there were more votes case for Trump than there were for Romney…

        In MN hillary got 200k fewer votes than Obama 4 years ago and trump got a 2k more than Romney 4 years ago, again some of that is 3rd parties and some of that is voter turn out. posted an analysis, they didn’t look at 3rd parties unfortunately, but I think the data to look for that should be out there too.

    • Jeff C.

      “The media and the pollsters all told us that Hillary was to be crowned that day, so many just stayed home.”

      Maybe that is how Trump won. People voted for him as a joke because they were told Hillary was going to win. RE-DO!

  • wjc

    I doubt that the disengaged read NewsCut.

  • Will

    I hear Kaepernick didn’t vote, all that protesting but he didn’t even vote…can we stop holding him up as a role model now?

    • KTN

      Sure, at the same time we stop holding the pu**y grabber up as a role model too.

    • Ralphy

      I heard he voted twice… (sarcasm)
      Could it be that by not voting he was trying to convey a protest message?

  • Mike Worcester

    I’d be curious to see geographically where those 78,000 hailed from. Was the drop-off in more populated areas? In rural areas? Was it spread out evenly?

    (And when you consider that in 2014 barely 51% of Minnesotans cast a ballot — which was embarrassing to this state resident — 74% was a good improvement.)

  • Gary F

    Just think, if 43,000 more voted for Trump in Minnesota, it really would be news.

    • Rob

      Yup; news of the worst sort.

  • MarkUp

    In October, MN set a record for 73,478 newly registered voters, and yet the turnout was down by 78,000. I’ve been wondering who the 73k are and where they come from (new millennials? Frustrated rural voters?). Since the MN presidential results were closer than previous races (Gore took the state with a 60k vote lead in 2000, but Clinton took the state with less than 20k), it stands to reason the new voters were from out-state MN and the 78k you’re looking for are mostly disillusioned registered Democrats. The district results map backs that assertion up.

    I’m referencing this site for past election results. They flipped the coloring so red districts represent Democrat wins and blue districts represent Republican wins, but is otherwise an interesting map to look at:

    • I don’t see the logic of the conclusion you’re making based on the previous election results. It doesn’t take into consideration any data on people moving into or out of the state, the number of people reaching voting age, the number of people dying etc. There’s also no such thing as a registered Democrat since in Minnesota you don’t register by party, unlike other states.

      Plus, recall that we’re talking PERCENTAGE differences from previous votes and not NUMBER of votes so it’s difficult to make a comparison with previous elections based on number of votes . We can’t say, for example, that 78,000 people voted last time that didn’t vote this time. We can only say that 78,000 people didn’t vote THIS time and that’s all the data allows us to say.

      I think you fit the data to your conclusion instead of the other way around and you there needs to be a more scientific analysis to what you’re attempting to prove.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        I don’t you can say 78,000 people didn’t vote. The proper phrasing would be “78,000 fewer Minnesotans voted”. Because some percentage of those 78,000 are people who now live and vote somewhere else. For example between the 1992 and 1996 Presidential races I would have been part of a similar statistic. But it’s not that I didn’t vote. I was living in Madison, WI in 1996 and voted there. So you may be looking for phantoms at this point.

  • Gary F

    But also remember folks, you had the two most worst candidates you could run. 325 Million people in America and we chose these two dolts to run for President.

    • Brian Simon

      Well, we can agree on that at least.

    • I think this is an area that is not well discussed in the aftermath of every election.

      WE didn’t pick these two, the parties did. Caucuses and primaries are party functions. There is no uniform method for choosing the final candidates from state to state.

      In my case, I’m not allowed by ethics policy to participate in caucuses because they’re party functions. I could in a primary election, however.

      In a caucus, you’re not electing a candidate, you’re electing a delegate. Nothing more.

      But I wouldn’t equate the process of party nomination with a general election.

      • Ben

        The winning candidate kept barking “rigged election” toward the end of the campaign. The supporters of the losing candidate, though, are feeling that the selection process was rigged. It doesn’t really feel like your vote has much weight in the selection process, primaries/caucuses. I don’t really know much about the party processes for choosing our candidates. That definitely falls on me, can’t really blame anyone else for my ignorance. I do think there are many of us out there though, who have decided it’s just hopeless to try to figure it all out and really become part of that process. BTW, I did vote and I do vote in every election. I don’t consider myself an engaged voter though. I read the term “depressed voter”, someone who votes, but isn’t fired up, doesn’t bring in friends and family to the polls or volunteer for his candidate. That’s probably me.

        • rallysocks

          I think you are right that people don’t know much about the selection process, and I also think that they don’t much care. About that or in really studying the process and the candidates.

          My county went Trump. It’s an aging population and many of our seniors don’t access the internet and being out in the sticks, there’s not much for daily newspapers. Fox News is extremely popular. It’s far easier for them to just listen to what they hear there than to dig into the due diligence they should be.

          And wow! The proliferation of fake newssites is astonishing–as is the gullibility of most of the internet’s users. Even when you show them that it’s a fake site set up somewhere in Macedonia or wherever, they won’t believe anything other than what they read on that fake site. Also, Snopes is full of lying commies and funded by Soros.

          Okay, now I’m depressed and nauseous all over again.

        • Rob

          I’m totally with you. I was under-enthused but did vote; didn’t exhort friends and family to do likewise, and am having a hard time adjusting to the fact that we are in essence a nation in which a majority of people continue to vote against their own interests at the state and national levels. Plus, it saddens me immensely that we are unlikely to see a woman elected to the presidency in my lifetime.

      • Rob

        We didn’t pick ’em on the front end, and as we all know, we didn’t pick ’em on the back end either – the electoral college did.

        • Ralphy

          California has 50X the population of ND, but only 18X the number of electoral votes. A vote in ND is worth 3 in CA.
          The system is rigged – in favor of rural states. I’ll let readers figure out the demographics.

          • The number of electoral votes equals the number in the congressional delegation. So California has 55. Since congressional seats are apportioned based on population, the representation is equal so, logically, so is the value of the vote… skewed as it is by the fact all states are equal in the Senate but they are not equal in the house.

            You could make the electoral college perfectly equal by subtracting two from each state and then providing electoral votes depending only on the number of congresspeople.

          • Ralphy

            Or, one could argue that either m the citizens in high population states are comparatively under-represented in DC or the formula for the electoral college needs fixing to be more proportional per population and the votes cast.

          • Jerry

            “You could make the electoral college perfectly equal by subtracting two from each state and then providing electoral votes depending only on the number of congresspeople.”

            No, it would still only be an approximation, and could still skew the result drastically. Imagine, for instance, that there are only two states, with populations 19 and 21, and that we give one electoral vote for every 10 citizens. Then the small state gets one electoral vote, and the big state gets two. Now suppose there is an election in which everybody in the small state votes for Candidate A, but Candidate B wins the big state by 11 votes to 10. Then Candidate A wins the popular vote by 29 to 11 (very nearly 3:1), but Candidate B wins the electoral college by a ratio of 2:1.

            In the real world, the Republican Party used redistricting to ensure that this kind of phenomenon happens in their favor when it comes time to elect congresspeople. That is the reason they currently control the House of Representatives.

          • I don’t see how the math works out that way. If congressional districts are apportioned by population it would be impossible for a voter in one state to have more power than a voter in another ,

            I mean, I get that people think a popular vote should win but I don’t think they’ve thought things through clearly because if a popular vote wins, a state goes from mattering too much to not mattering at all.

            This all, of course, was the great debate at the Constitutional Convention and how we ended up with two houses in Congress.

          • Jerry

            “I don’t see how the math works out that way.”

            Are you talking about the particular numbers in my example, or the bigger idea that gerrymandering could work at all? Wikipedia has a nice graphic that might explain it better than I did:

            I think the basic reason this can happen is that there are fewer electoral votes than there are voters, so every electoral vote represents some kind of approximation. Any time you make an approximation, you introduce some error. If you make a lot of approximations, you could make a lot of errors, and it’s possible that those errors could add up to something big.

            “If congressional districts are apportioned by population it would be impossible for a voter in one state to have more power than a voter in another”

            I think it depends on the demographics of the state. Whatever “voting power” means, I think we can agree that it was very low for anybody living in Maryland on Tuesday, since their state was sure to go to Clinton in a landslide. But if that same person moved across the border to Pennsylvania, I think we can agree that their voting power would increase dramatically. That would be the case even if you took two electoral votes away from each state.

          • // Are you talking about the particular numbers in my example, or the bigger idea that gerrymandering could work at al

            Neither, I’m talking about your original complaint that a voter’s vote in ND is worth more than voter’s vote in California. If the electoral college were to be strictly along congressional lines (removing the two senators), and congressional apportionment is based on population, how mathematically that could still be the case. If a congressional seat, for example, has the same power in ND as it has in California’s 51st district, how could a vote not?

            // , so every electoral vote represents some kind of approximation. Any time you make an approximation, you introduce some error. If you make a lot of approximations, you could make a lot of errors, and it’s possible that those errors could add up to something big.

            Maybe, but by reapportioning every 10 years, the liklihood of the something big — or even the something little — are markedly reduced, particularly since there are only two elections during those 10 years when the electoral college matters.

            // But if that same person moved across the border to Pennsylvania, I think we can agree that their voting power would increase dramatically. That would be the case even if you took two electoral votes away from each state.

            OK, but that’s not a math question, then so we can throw out the mathematics altogether. You’re looking for a way to break up like-minded voters.

            So the answer to our system is to empty the coastal cities and force people to go live in rural America. :*)

          • Jerry

            To be clear, somebody else said a vote in ND is worth more than in CA. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but I do think there are clearly states in which a single vote is worth more than in others. As for emptying the coasts, I think I would rather the Midwest stay about how it is, so let’s just get rid of the electoral college instead 🙂

    • Jeff C.

      Please! Learn some facts about Hillary. You can read about her — — or watch something about her — Hillary is not a dolt and would have been a fantastic president. You don’t have to like her but don’t ignore her accomplishments and say that she was a bad of a choice as Trump. Jeez…

      • Was everyone lying when they said they couldn’t wait until the campaign was over?

        • wjc

          I wanted it to be over, so I wouldn’t have to look at Trump for a long time.

          • Ben

            Oh my God, I keep coming to this realization over and over in my head, it just keeps coming back in different ways, with different comments about what’s in store for the next 4 years. I’m still in denial.

        • Jeff C.

          No. But what does that have to do about the mis-statement that Hillary was a dolt? She was extremely well qualified and Donald Trump wasn’t.

      • Gary F

        Oh, samantha bee!

        • The election is over. It’s not going to be undone. The new administration hasn’t taken office yet. Maybe this is a good time for people on both sides to stop hurling insults at each other. People can still be the loyal opposition. People can do that and still not be insufferable. They can be the ones in charge and still have humility.

          Honestly, people. SOMEBODY has got to go first.

          • Will

            We have to get people out of the streets and to accept the results… then we can move on.

          • But they’re not keeping you from moving on, right?

            I mean, I GUESS, I get the “you go first” mentality that I’m witnessing this week and we’re conditioned by the years to blame the “other side.” But a large number of people on both sides are truly insufferable in the aftermath and are doing very little about it.

            Social media, of course, is proof of that.

          • Will

            I didn’t vote for Trump but I’m optimistic about his presidency and I’m fully moving on as long as I can get home and protesters aren’t blocking the streets on my way.

          • Jerry

            Donald Trump just won a national election on an open platform of racism and misogyny, while proposing that the United States abandon its allies, ignore its debts, and trample on the first amendment. You may be ready to move on, but it should not come as a surprise that others are not.

          • Well, the question becomes what does “accepting the results” and “moving on” mean?

            There’s nothing that can undo the election. That’s done. The protests are a way to send a message early on, it seems to me, that while someone is in power, there is not a mandate to represent slightly less than only 48% of America. That seems obvious. Trump acknowledged that.

            But moving on doesn’t mean giving up, it also seems to me. It means focusing on a battle than can do some good, if you’re in the not-Trump crowd, and that’s going to have to be civic engagement. There’s no other rational way.

            I think the message of the last few nights has gotten through, but at some point, closing I-94 just becomes another way to change an avatar.

            Protest works. We in the Vietnam generation can tell you that. But everyone’s going need a little time to get their bearings and find their tribes and their allies for the legislative battles that are ahead.

            You know, it’s only been a few days and people can’t shut things off the way politicians can so someone’s gonna have to figure out how to make the transition from one of the worst campaigns of modern times to a pragmatic approach to effecting whatever change people want.

            This seems very much like the days after Reagan was elected. But, unlike back then — Democrats and Tip O’Neil still controlled Capitol Hill — the losing side simply has no one to rally behind. There simply are no Democratic leaders in sight — anyway — who look capable of leading anybody anywhere.

            So in the absence of that, people hit the streets.

            It’s a rather scary time because very bad things happen to countries who have a power vacuum.

            We do not know how to disagree in this country, anymore. We do not know how to figure out what we agree on and how to build a vision when considering what we don’t. This is our opportunity to figure it out. History says we’ll blow it.

          • Jerry

            Thanks for the thoughtful response.

    • Ralphy

      Unfortunately, many voters do not discern between personality and ability – politicking and governance are two completely different things.

    • Rob

      If you meant one dolt and a very capable person who was also the epitome of a privileged insider, I’m with you.

  • Ennio S.

    While watching the protest footage from last night, I wondered how many of the 78,000 were participating.

    • wjc

      Very few, I would guess. If someone is not engaged enough to vote, I doubt that they would be engaged enough to protest.

      • Kassie

        Not necessarily. They could be disenfranchised due to age, citizenship status or felonies and still protest.

        • wjc

          The 78,000 refers to people who are eligible to vote but didn’t.

  • Jerry

    One of the best ways to suppress the vote is to discourage it

    • Dan

      Which was done enthusiastically by people from both left and right.

  • This is going around on Reddit right now. Pretty interesting. If “did not vote” were a candidate, it would’ve won in a landslide.

  • Gary F

    Maybe a lot of Dems were mad at the way the DNC treated Bernie and stayed home.

    • Rob

      I think you’re on to something – NOT.

    • kevins

      Were there any Repubs. that stayed home? Maybe it was Bernie…

      • Historical data says the phenomenon isn’t candidate related. They seem to be a convenient excuse.

      • Gary F

        No, they voted, they might not have voted for Trump, but they voted solidly Republican in the lower races.

  • Rob

    I’m in favor of enacting state and national laws that would require everyone that is eligible to vote.

    • Ralphy

      Maybe instead of an I Voted sticker, they should give out a Power Ball ticket?

      • Rob

        LOFL. But seriously, I’d be in favor of some kind of an incentive system, so why not a lottery ticket? I think one of Obamacare’ s biggest shortcomings is that it is penalty-based rather than incentive-based.

  • Jerry

    What I find amazing is that I know that there are people who don’t vote, but I literally don’t know anybody who doesn’t, from either side of political spectrum.

  • crystals

    My husband is one of the 26%. It’s difficult for me because I strongly disagree with his decision not to vote, but I respect him and I value our relationship more than forcing him to do something he did not want to do. He voted in 2012 and 2015 because of specific ballot issues that were meaningful to both of us, but this year he did not feel he could vote for either of the main party presidential candidates in good conscience. There were no local races of significance (our legislators & congressman won in a landslide, our city councilwoman did as well).

    He is so frustrated with campaign finance laws, lobbying, and the general way politics is done in our country that he doesn’t want to participate in it until it changes. Like I said, it’s tough for me to understand or agree with but it is who he is, and I love him.

  • Josh D.

    In 2004, I was 24 years old, John Kerry was trying to unseat George W. Bush and I did not vote. Before that election I had voted in 1998 with excitement when I turned 18 for both democrats and republicans on the ballot and I have to imagine in 2000 I voted as well but I don’t remember anymore. But in 2004, I was a kid compared to the semi-cynical political junkie I’ve become, and I saw nothing for me in the two candidates. I figured there was no way Dubya could win, so I just sat that one out. I specifically remember a coworker of the time that was just flabbergasted that I had not voted and supplied me an extended scolding. I have voted in every election since, every one. I go out of my way to be educated on all of the candidates, even judges and conservation boards, and I base my vote on a well thought out comparison of how the candidates views match with mine. But back then, I didn’t. I voted on how I FELT about a candidate, and in 2004 I thought both of them had no idea what it was like to be me, had nothing in common with me, could not relate to my life, and thus I had no interest in either of them. It was a decision based on feelings, not on logical thought. I have to imagine a lot of the people that sat out this time around might have felt the same way I did then: these candidates made them so feel alienated from the process that they just decided their life will go on just fine either way, so why bother.

  • Anna

    I have come to the conclusion we should just sit back and enjoy the show.

    I think Trump was as surprised as anyone when he won the election. The scramble to put together a transition team and the shuffling that has been going on with who is heading the team shows that Trump’s transition team had some major “holes” in it.

    This is going to be the ultimate reality television show.