Monday, December 05, 2005

Abstention rates 

Just for fun I looked up the abstention rates in the U.S. congressional elections and found this table which nicely summarizes them. Again, I don´t consider the level of abstention to be in any way meaningful. People who don´t vote don`t count - full stop. Further, it is pretentious and absurd for anyone (such as the Venezuelan opposition) to claim that they speak in the name of people who didn´t vote or that those who didn´t vote somehow were endorsing their position. So this is just really indulging my own curiousity, but for fun lets see what the numbers reveal.

First lets remember that half of all U.S. congressional elections coincide with Presidential elections which makes for higher turnout. But the other half do not which make them more akin to the voting that just occured in Venezuela. Here are some of the off year turnout numbers:

1994 38.78%

1990 36.52%

1986 36.40%

1982 39.79%

1978 37.21%

Notice a pattern here? In the supposed great democracy that is the U.S the voting rates hovers around 37% - not all that much better than what was seen in Venezuela. Plus, even during off year elections there are often gubenatorial or other local elections which tend to pull the voting rate up. In yesterdays vote in Venezuela there were no such other elections. And lest we forget, in at least some of the U.S. elections their is a real contest to see who will win. With the opposition pulling out, yesterday`s vote in Venezuela was a forgone conclusion. So all things considered, participation in yesterdays election really wasn´t anything that wouldn´t pass for ordinary in the U.S.


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