This Voter Turnout Graph Shows Another Reason Why the Rich Continue to Control the Country

voter-turnout-by-income-demosWhile both sides constantly complain about money in politics, how terrible our elected officials are and the inefficiencies of our government, the bottom line is we elect these people into office.  Without our votes, most of these politicians would have never been elected.

Well, one of the biggest problems we have in this country is that the rich and powerful seem to control our government.  Now most people might think that’s because of the cumulative millions these people donate every election cycle.  And for the most part that’s fairly accurate.  Time and time again it’s proven that in politics, those who have the most money almost always win.

But that’s not the only reason why the richest among us rule this country.  They also vote much more often than poor and middle class Americans.

Just take a look at this chart of voter turnout for the 2008 Presidential election, which was put together as part of a larger, in-depth report by


In every income bracket of people making $30K or less per year, voter turnout is less than 50 percent.  Yet on the opposite end, people making $75K or more per year have a voter turnout above 70 percent.

So it’s not just the money they’re donating that’s determining what type of government we have, it’s the rate at which they’re voting (and we’re not voting) which is also giving them the upper hand on selecting who represents us in our government.

Furthermore, as this study by Nonprofit VOTE points out, only 40% of those with a household income below $50K voted in the 2010 midterm elections.  This is especially concerning seeing as how this year’s midterms are so vitally important if we want anything to get accomplished in President Obama’s final two years in office.

From Nonprofit VOTE’s report:

  • In the survey, lower income voters cite
    transportation problems, registration
    issues, and lack of awareness of the
    election as reasons for not voting.

I cannot stress it enough – we must make voting a top priority.  All these blogs, comments, pages, petitions, debates, discussions, political shows – none of them matter if we don’t get out and vote.  Ask your neighbors if they need a ride to the polls – you’d be surprised how many people do need a little help but just don’t know who to ask.  Make sure your friends and family are registered and aware of when and where to vote.  These are things that many consider common sense, but a 40% voter turnout rate is just absolutely unacceptable and proves that not enough of us are doing these simple things.

The cliché saying really is true, “If you don’t get out and vote, then you really don’t have a right to bitch.”  And we have far too many people (especially poor and middle class Americans) complaining about what’s going on in this country who aren’t doing anything about it.

Let’s change that.  Because if we don’t, nothing in this country is ever going to change.

If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend checking out the complete report that was just put together by Demos.  It’s eye-opening, to say the least.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Shannon

    This doesn’t mention one of the key factors – that republican strategists have identified as a Dem Achilles’s Heel; access to polls. By restricting early voting, mail in ballots, election day registration, polling hours, ~restrooms~ fer gawds sake, they shave off lower income hourly workers. Workers who WOULD vote, if only they could get there! I am not suggesting it would reverse the trend, but only that the opposition has found a way to prevent a significant liberal turnout.

    • nolidad

      Well you should check your facts before blaming the GOP for these things,. The heavily democratic areas are also run by democrats- they make the rules and set the voting hours, and mail in ballot procedures- so blame the liberals for the problems there. As for same day voter registration- sorry but that should always be a no fly program. With all the fraud that has been uncovered especially in places like chicago where sometime voter turnout was over 100% in some wards. Voter ID should be a must. YOu can’t fly a plane by NYquil in drug stores without a photo ID . If the liberals went to vote and found that tens of thousands of them had someone already vote using their name- voter ID would becoem the law of the land..

      • Sandy Greer

        >If the liberals went to vote and found that tens of thousands of them had someone already vote using their name- voter ID would becoem the law of the land..

        ^^^Exactly. And the fact is: There HASN’T been ‘tens of thousands’ of folks using other people’s names. That’s a Republican lie to stir up the masses. And it works pretty well – for the ignorant – who look no further than Faux News.

        But ‘tens of thousands’ is still a lie.

        Attempts at Voter Suppression are based on very real fears that GOP is losing ground. They’re afraid of Dem voters, as well they should be. America, by and large, just doesn’t buy that conservative Hate being sold on The Right.

        It’s important we don’t ‘cave’ to attempts at Voter Suppression. I don’t care HOW difficult it is – HOW many obstacles they throw up:

        People need to exercise their right to vote. Voter Suppression is proof enough there are folks who would strip us of that right.

      • nolidad

        Well sandy check the sites I posted on this site and you will find enormous evidence of demoicratic voter fraud. In the 2008 and the 2012 elections. Counties that voted 100% for Obama, Counties that 125% voter turnout. Just coincidence that they are all heavy heavy democrat counties? Not likely.

      • Dan Mackey

        If that were true Republicans would have been doing for a while. Maybe that’s how some many of them can get elected.

  • Anna

    I wonder if age is a contributing factor to the lower turnout. As my grandmother got older, her income decreased, and she also (though unrelated) found it harder to get to the polls due to health issues. Would be interesting to see the chart broken out by those 18-64, and 65+.

  • Sandy Greer

    I have never understood people who don’t vote. I don’t even care if you don’t vote my way. Although, of course, that’s preferable. 😉

    Voting is a privilege many in this world don’t have. People we don’t even know fought and died to provide us our right to vote.

    It’s our duty, as citizens, to exercise our right to vote. Lest it be taken away from us.

    There is Power in a vote. Don’t give Power away, for free.

  • Matthew Reece

    “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” -Emma Goldman

    • DavidD

      If they did then we would have a legitimate reason under the Constitution to take countermeasures against them
      .Nihilism only helps the GOP and Emma let herself get her self kicked out of the country by making serious political mistakes.
      I don’t like either political parties as I’m a Social Democrat but the world is not set up to suit me and until a Labor party is set up I’m going to pick up what poor tools I have and do the best I can.

      • Matthew Reece

        I would rather work with the tools we have (Bitcoin, Tor, 3D printers, black/gray markets, etc.) to build a counter-system that can someday suppress the state as a criminal enterprise.

      • alan meyers

        Zounds and egad! If that happens, the patients (like yourself) will truly be running the asylum.

      • Matthew Reece

        Ad hominem is an admission of defeat and ignorance.

      • alan meyers

        Not if it’s true. “… a counter-system that can someday suppress the state as a criminal enterprise”? – you’re living in a fantasy world. Ad hominem? How about ad nauseam?

      • Matthew Reece

        Ad lapidem is also an admission of defeat and ignorance. Calling out people for repetitive logical fallacies is not a fallacy of any kind.

      • alan meyers

        That is a statement of your opinion. It cannot be proven or disproven. It carries no more weight than any other statement of opinion, including mine. I stand by mine, and reject yours. No soup for YOU!

      • Matthew Reece

        It is a statement of fact, and It is proven by the fact that you offer no substance, only insults and base dismissals.

      • alan meyers

        You just don’t get it! I was referring to your statement of OPINION, “Ad lapidem is also an admission of defeat and ignorance.” Not only is that an opinion rather than a statement of fact, but it also reeks of ad hominum. Apparently you’re more comfortable dishing it out than you are taking it. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! No soup for YOU today!

      • Matthew Reece

        That dismissing an argument without logic or evidence is an admission of defeat and ignorance is a fact because if you had logic or evidence, you would be using it.

  • David Shaw Jr

    Poor people tend to lack readily available transportation or are working more than one job and can’t get time off to go vote.