Some readers never vote, while some have decided not to this year.
Because my simple vote cannot adequately express the rage, fury and contempt I feel for those already in government, as well as those who seek to replace them. The system is carefully optimized to care for those who already have; the have-nots will always have to fend for themselves. — Jacques Caillault, Antioch, Calif.
In the grand scheme of things in my life, the decisions that politicians make do not really affect my daily life. Every politician is the same, so what does it matter? They are going to make decisions on issues dependent on what their donors and what the party want — not on what the constituents want. We do not make any actual changes. — Braedon Shelton, Charlotte
I don’t vote because the winners of most races I’m eligible to vote in are predetermined, due to gerrymandering, the electoral college and the overall heavy political imbalance of the state. (I tell people from elsewhere that Maryland leans so far to the left that even our crabs are blue.) In reality, I have no more say in who my congressional representative or my U.S. senators will be than my neighbors in D.C. have in choosing theirs. Voting in such a system is not only a waste of time; it also perpetuates a system of anti-democratic elections. — Carl Yaffe, Rockville
I forgot to register in time. That’s why I’m for automatic registration at 18 for all U.S. citizens. — Rene Dionne, Washington
I struggle to take myself seriously if I’m forced to label myself as something profoundly unserious. — T. A. Chrystie, Los Angeles
I am a registered independent who hasn’t voted since 1992 because I refuse to support the corrupt bipartisan system. I will not give a mandate to the lesser of two evils. It is clear that politicians seek power as a steppingstone to corporate board positions and/or K Street lobbying jobs. Serious campaign finance reform would begin to alleviate my concerns. — Scott Quinn, Greeley, Colo.
I will vote in my local elections, but there are no midterms because I have no voting representatives (still pay federal taxes, though!). — Jason Bello, Washington
Some people are unable to get to the polls, and some are ineligible to vote.
I work 8-5 and have to commute 60 miles to get to my job. I have no way of getting to a polling place on a weekday unless I just leave work and don’t come back for the rest of my shift.
This year, I’m told that my boss legally has to let me leave to go vote, so if I am allowed to leave earlier than normal I could make it home before a polling place closes. — Kayla Jenkins, Alexander City, Ala.
I’m too young. I’m incredibly politically minded, have a job and pay taxes, yet I’m disenfranchised because my birthday is just a little too far off. I would absolutely vote if I could. — Will Archer, Cartersville, Ga.
I can’t vote in the midterms this year because I live in Puerto Rico. — Jay Chevako, Vega Alta, Puerto Rico
I was convicted of a felony related to marijuana in 1973. — Grady Amann, Knoxville, Tenn.
[Read George F. Will’s op-ed about why felons should be allowed to vote; Gideon Yaffe’s op-ed about why felons and prisoners should have the right to vote; and the Editorial Board’s stance on Virginia’s ban on voting by convicted felons]
As the governor of the U.S. territory of Guam, I have spent a lot of time thinking about voting rights on my island — and particularly the rights for Guamanian veterans.
Guam is an American stronghold in the western Pacific and the “tip of the spear” in safeguarding our national security. Our people are among the most patriotic of Americans. One in every eight Guamanians has served in the U.S. armed forces. So many of Guam’s veterans laid down their lives, and thousands more fought and bled on foreign shores in the service of America’s noblest ideal — the defense of democracy. Yet, despite this, not one of these U.S. citizens can participate in the democratic process with a vote for president, nor have a voting representative in Congress.
With this disenfranchisement, is it any wonder, then, that many Guamanians would feel discouraged from voting in the midterms? This is why we need equal rights of citizenship — including voting rights — for all. — Eddie Calvo, governor of Guam
Finally, a few readers discussed why they have traditionally not voted — but have decided to vote this year.
This will be the first midterms I have ever voted in. These are why I haven’t voted in the past:
(1) I didn’t know that the midterm elections were happening.
(2) I didn’t know the deadlines and process for registering.
(3) It was exceedingly difficult to get matter-of-fact, nonpartisan information about the candidates, even with extensive Internet research.
(4) There was no contest. Because of strong partisan leanings in the state, there was scant chance my vote would have an effect on the outcome. (As a Texan, it’s different this year.) — James Mercado, Bedford, Tex.
I have not voted in 35 years. I served at the National Security Agency and CIA for all of those years. I thought it best that I remained nonpolitical. Now that I have witnessed Trump and the Republicans systematically destroy all that I served to protect, I will be voting this November. My ticket will be all Democrat. This is coming from a white 64-year-old man. The ones that are supposed to be Trump’s “base.” Enough. — Michael Lusby, Waynesville, N.C.
For the past 15 years of living in this country, I have not been able to vote, because I was not a citizen. Although affected constantly by the policies and choices of elected government, I was not even allowed to financially support any candidate running for office.
Earlier this year, I became a citizen, and I will be voting in the midterms for the first time. — Wouter Deconinck, Norfolk