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Mapping Where Americans Don't Vote

“The United States of Apathy” showcases the dramatic effect of low voter turnout in U.S. elections.
If no-show votes could choose a candidate, "Nobody" would have won the 2016 presidential election, according to this map.
If no-show votes could choose a candidate, "Nobody" would have won the 2016 presidential election, according to this map.Philip Kearney

The results of the 2018 midterm elections—and of Democrats’ efforts to retake the U.S. House of Representatives and stem Republican gains in the Senate—will all depend on turnout. Historically speaking, though, voting in midterm elections isn’t something that a majority of Americans do. In 2014, just a little more than one third of eligible voters cast ballots, the lowest share since 1942, according to the United States Elections Project.

Even in the last presidential election, just 56 percent of could-be voters showed up to the polls. In fact, in hundreds of counties around the U.S., the number of eligible individuals who did not vote far outweighed the number of ballots actually cast for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016. If those millions of no-shows had picked “nobody” on the ballot—the effective choice of their abstention—“nobody” would have won in a landslide.