Only 29% of US Population (42% of registered voters) Participated in 2010 Mid-Term Elections

Posted by Darcy Richardson at Uncovered Politics:

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 4 — According to the Associated Press, 90 million Americans — only 42% of registered voters — pulled the lever for a congressional candidate on Tuesday. That’s just a hair under 29% of the US population of 310.6 million.

“So much for the consent of the governed,” says Thomas L. Knapp of the fledgling X2012 Project. “In a typical district, the next US Representative was chosen by, at most, one out of four or five registered voters and less than one in six of his or her alleged constituents.”

“A majority of those who could have voted refused to. A supermajority either chose not to vote or weren’t allowed to vote,” says the edgy and contemplative media coordinator and senior news analyst for the Center for a Stateless Society. “Yet for the next two years, that politician will claim to ‘represent,’ and to possess legitimate authority to rule, all of them.”

The X2012 Project, which hopes to build grassroots support for a massive boycott of the 2012 general election, aims to put the lie to those claims. Launched as the polls closed on Tuesday evening, X2012 is a “branding campaign” which allows non-voters to dispute the conventional wisdom that their abstention is rooted in apathy or that it constitutes implicit consent to the existing system of government.

By the time 2012 rolls around, the project hopes to have millions of non-voters on the record as non-consenting.

A July Rasmussen poll found that only 23% of Americans believe the US government functions with “the consent of the governed” — the criterion of legitimacy set forth by America’s founders in the Declaration of Independence.

“Thomas Jefferson didn’t say ‘a majority of the governed,’” says Knapp, a longtime third-party activist who ran for vice president on the nascent Boston Tea Party in 2008 while simultaneously garnering 8,628 votes as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Congress in Missouri’s 2nd congressional district.

”Even a significant minority of dissenters calls the legitimacy of a government into question,” says Knapp. ”Some estimates say that fewer than one third of Americans supported the Revolution at its beginning. We’ve got a better case against John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama than Tom Paine had against George III.”


Darcy G. Richardson is the author of six books, including five volumes of a planned seven-volume history on independent and third-party politics in the United States.

16 thoughts on “Only 29% of US Population (42% of registered voters) Participated in 2010 Mid-Term Elections

  1. Darryl W. Perry

    Just curious, what percentage of people voted fora winning elephant in the US House & what percentage voted for a winning donkey in the US Senate… that should show what kind of “mandate” there really is!

  2. Darryl W. Perry

    Just did some quick math – 6.90% of the population voted for a winning donkey in the US Senate…

    I’ll run the numbers on House elephants next – may be harder to find those combined figures…

  3. Richard Winger

    It is not rational to calculate the number of people who cast a ballot as a percentage of the entire population. After all, people under age 18 can’t vote, and there are millions of adults living in the U.S. who are also not able to vote (ex-felons in many states, felons in 49 states, non-citizens).

    Curtis Gans, the nation’s leading expert on turnout, says 42% of the people who could potentially have registered to vote and then voted, actually did so. Although that is bad, it is better than 2006 and 2002.

  4. tiradefaction

    Alright, if you organize all these non voters to make a statement of non consent and refusal to participate, what’s the next step after that?

  5. Thomas L. Knapp

    Quoth Richard Winger:

    “It is not rational to calculate the number of people who cast a ballot as a percentage of the entire population. After all, people under age 18 can’t vote, and there are millions of adults living in the U.S. who are also not able to vote (ex-felons in many states, felons in 49 states, non-citizens).”

    If you’re trying to gauge consent, it would be irrational NOT to include them in that calculation. If you’re not given the opportunity to consent, how can you consent?

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    Ross@1, tiredfaction@9:

    I’m just trying to get a number of people with a common trait to stand together under the same umbrella. Where they walk with that umbrella over them after that is up to them.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    tk: If you’re not given the opportunity to consent, how can you consent?

    me: Do you really believe that 1 year olds should be included in the base? For real? The opportunity to “consent” will be reached 18.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I’m not offering a judgment as to whether or not a 1-year-old SHOULD be consulted. I’m simply saying that if that 1-year-old WASN’T consulted, he or she didn’t express consent.

    The assumption that non-expression of non-consent is implicit expression of consent is an untenable assumption, especially in the case of those who weren’t even asked.

  9. paulie Post author

    I’m not too sure that even those who did vote “expressed consent.” I know that is one theory, but I used to vote, and I was not doing it to express consent…I was using it to express dissent.

    Among voters I know, some consider the government to be somewhat or even entirely illegitimate, but consider some ballot choices worse than others.

    Among non-voters I know, there is also a range of opinion as to the legitimacy of government.

  10. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    IN THE MID WEST, SPRING 2011

    More News: “Letters | Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

    [Mayor] Funkhouser’s monument?

    This summer I’ve been bicycling around Kansas City [Missouri] and have passed locations such as H. Roe Bartle Hall, Charles Wheeler Airport, and Richard Berkley Waterfront Park. They are all dedicated to honoring the accomplished former mayors.

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why Mayor Mark Funkhouser thinks he should have a second term.

    A monument to him thus far would have to include some cracks and fissures for his inability to get along with nearly anyone, and his wife’s bare foot in his mouth for making a joke of his office and costing taxpayers needless costs and legal bills.”

  11. Pingback: Digital Raises the Stakes in 2012 Elections | L&S Unscripted

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