Why Americans Still Don’t Vote
Election 2000 was the most contentious and controversial in over a century. The infamous butterfly ballots and dangling chads are now part of folklore. Yet beyond those things, deeper and troubling questions about the nature of American democracy arise. Voter turnout is appallingly low. Less than half the population votes for President and under 40% for congressional races. Primaries? Don’t even ask. Is low turnout all due to apathy? That’s unlikely. Few countries have as many obstacles for citizens to get to the ballot box as the U.S. It seems rather obvious, but why, for example, is Election Day on Tuesday, a work day?
Frances Fox Piven is a leading activist scholar. She is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at CUNY. She is co-author with Richard Cloward of numerous award-winning books including Regulating the Poor and The Breaking of the American Social Compact. She is the author of Why Americans Still Don’t Vote, The War at Home, Who’s Afraid of Frances Fox Piven and Lessons for Our Struggle.