Yes, you read it correctly. “Who didn’t vote in Virginia?
Democrats won the Governorship by almost 9% and picked up 15, maybe 15+ seats in the State’s House of Delegates (our State House). Four races are subject to a recount. In one recount the Democrat is very likely the ultimate winner. If so, Democrats need just one more win from the final three recounts to take control of the lower chamber. The next closest race has a Democrat down by ten votes, and a Federal Judge stopped the Virginia Board of Elections from counting 50 absentee ballots for the Democrat. Legal challenges are a certainty.
So, who cares who did not vote? We should! Democrats left a lot of votes on the table, and perhaps political control of the State’s lower legislative chamber.
Virginia turnout was 47%, so more than half of Virginia’s qualified voters didn’t vote. Some 2.6 million voted, about 2.8 million stayed home.
Demographics suggest most non-voters are disproportionally Democrats. Non-voters were more likely to be:
under age 30: 48% and
without a college degree 76%
They said they would vote Democrat! These non-voters reported they would have opted for Northam by a 62%-33% margin, approximately 8% higher than Northam’s final 54%.
Why didn’t they vote? Top three excuses were:
not knowing enough about the candidates: 25%
not having the time: 21%, and
not liking the candidates: 12%
The lessons for North Carolina Democrats headed into 2018 are compelling:
- Every vote counts.
- Democrats lose winnable elections because non-voters in off-year election cycles are disproportionately Democratic.
- Of the three top reasons non-voters give for their nonparticipation, we can immediately help fix two that accounted for 46% of all non-voters in Virginia; a) provide information more comprehensively about our candidates to non-voters and b) and educate drop-off voters about voting methods that will not overly burden their time constraints. We need to discuss and implement a process for better vetting our candidates.