The Apathy Myth

What Really Keeps 100 million Americans From Voting

She, like many fellow activists, will not be voting this year. But they point out that the choice is not based on some far-fetched faith in worldwide revolution. Rather, there is a sense that voting has brought little practical relief to "the people I see when I leave my door every morning and come home to every day," according to Bandele. Call their reasoning disenchantment or wising up, but it's certainly not apathy.

The silent majority speaks volumes. Its members don't need to follow the debates to recognize mixed messages: "Value human life; executions deter crime." "Regulate campaign financing; give me money." "Equal opportunity for all; depends how you define 'all.' " "Improve your life; vote."

illustration by Ferruccio Sardilla

Research assistance: Alexander Clare

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