In 2018, a high-profile governor’s race in Georgia brought a larger-than-expected turnout for a midterm election.
Despite the increase, there were still some 3 million eligible Georgia voters who didn’t take part.
The Knight Foundation has released a survey of thousands of what it termed “chronic non-voters” in 10 swing states, including Georgia.
The top reasons non-voters gave for not going to the polls involved the candidates, said Evette Alexander of the Knight Foundation.
“The No. 1 reason given was that they don’t like the candidates. And that was true for non-voters nationwide,” Alexander said. “The second-highest reason was that they don’t know the candidates, and many others said they didn’t know the issues.”
But Alexander says trust also came up.
“Non-voters are less likely to believe that the results of elections are tallied appropriately. They’re more likely to say they don’t believe elections represent the will of the people,” she said.
The survey also found among non-voters a fairly even split between Georgians who consider themselves Republican and those who identify as Democrats.
“That was quite a surprise. I think, it dispelled some common wisdom about non-voters being, you know, if they all turned out to vote, they’d be majority Democrat,” Alexander said.
The survey of non-voters in Georgia, according to the Knight Foundation, found 34%, if they did vote, would choose the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020, while 29% would vote to reelect President Donald Trump.
Alexander said convincing voters to get to the polls would benefit both parties.
“It points to the idea that getting out to vote is truly a bipartisan issue,” Alexander said. “This is about strengthening our democracy, and it would be a win for both parties.”