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Apathy, Voter

Apathy reflects a lack of engagement in even the most basic forms of public affairs participation. Apathy also has been described as a lack of interest and involvement in political affairs and a separation from matters political. Studies, however, have shown that interest is an effect rather than a characteristic of apathy. In addition, people can decline to participate for reasons other than apathy.

Reports of apathy have been inflated by flawed reporting of turnout rates. The most common method for reporting turnout, based on the “voting age population” from the U.S. census, includes noncitizens and ineligible felons. The number of ineligible citizens has increased markedly since 1972, but turnout among eligible voters has remained fairly steady.

Apathy often is considered one aspect of “political alienation,” which ...

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