Yesterday we discussed in this space the crisis American democracy faces when a president, of either party, wins an election with less than 33 percent of the eligible vote.
Here are yesterday’s results on that score, which demonstrate that the media refrain of “long lines at the polling places,” had much more to do with bad systems and poor voter access than larger numbers of Americans exercising their right to vote.
How bad was it? In 2008, Barack Obama won his first term with the most votes among 131 million eligible American voters.
In 2012, he won 59.9 million of 118 million votes cast. Mitt Romney won 57.2 million. Some 13 million people didn’t vote this year compared to four years ago.
It goes down hill from there. For the 2012 presidential election, 237 million Americans were eligible to register and vote, according to the U.S. Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Of those, about 150 million actually registered.
Nearly 87 million people eligible to register and vote did not in 2012.
That means that only 49.78 percent of eligible voters cast ballots for the two presidential candidates yesterday — the lowest percentage in a presidential election since 1996. Thus only 25.27 percent of eligible voters elected the president.
Just one in four eligible American voters chose our next president.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.