Less than half of Florida’s electorate voted in last week’s midterm elections. Negative campaigning and a growing distrust for government are being blamed for the low numbers. The low turnout means some politicians won office with support from just one in four registered voters.
For weeks leading up to the election FSU Sophomore Lizzie Solonari approached students and asked them to vote. Lizzie is a member of FSU Public Interest Research Group. The organization helped increase young voter participation on campus but statewide students just didn’t vote. “Right now people just aren’t aware of what’s going on.”
The apathy toward voting carries an extra sting for Lizzie. She’s not a citizen and won’t be able to vote until she’s naturalized. “It’s pretty frustrating. I feel like I don’t contribute a lot to society.”
But it wasn’t just students staying home on Election Day. Just 48 percent of Florida’s registered voters cast ballots. That’s par for mid-term elections in the US, but when compared to elections in other industrialized nations it’s low. Voter turnout in countries like Italy Greece and Denmark is in the mid 80’s.
With such a low voter turnout some candidates were able to win office with less than one in four voters casting a ballot in their favor.”
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho says some politicians try to keep voters away from the polls, and they often use negative ads to build frustration. “Negative advertising does create the image in people’s minds that there’s no one worthy to vote for.”
Carley Sattler voted, but many of her friends just weren’t interested. “A lot of students weren’t even aware that there were elections.”
In 2008 college students and blacks stormed the ballot box giving Democrats Congress and the White House. This year the Tea Party was more motivated, at for now they’re siding with Republicans.
For a county by county breakdown of voter turnout in your coverage area, check this link: http://enight.elections.myflorida.com/CountyStatusPage.aspx