This book addresses the issue of why 51.2% of the population of the USA failed to vote in the November 1996 presidential election. Through polls and studies conducted in the spring and summer of 1996, the contributors set out to answer the following questions: what were the 51.2 percent doing that day? Who are they? Why didn't they vote? The results are summarized into five types of nonvoters: doers, unplugged, irritable, don't knows and alienated.

The Conventional Wisdom about Nonvoters

The conventional wisdom about nonvoters

When Henry Montoya walked into his neighborhood polling place in west Denver on November 5, 1996, as he had for the previous 10 years, he signed in to record his presence. Democrat Bill Clinton, Republican Bob Dole, Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, and Libertarian Harry Browne were on the ballot for president of the United States. The ballot also afforded an opportunity to vote for candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state senate and house, and the University of Colorado regents, among other offices, and for four citizen-initiated referenda.

Montoya went behind the curtain and pushed the exit button at the bottom, having deliberately voted for no one. His reason? “In any election, ...

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