Barely half of the eligible American voters showed up to the polls in 2012.
That number — 53.6 percent, according to Pew — is a reminder that the United States democracy has a long way to go. Today is National Voter Registration Day, and on Twitter, people are reminding each other why it's so important to vote.
Right now, Congress has record low approval ratings and 58 percent of Americans support President Obama (contextually, that number is actually quite high). Still, despite that, almost half of all eligible Americans didn't vote in 2012. U.S. voter turnout actually trails most developed nations. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Israel, and South Korea all get around 80 percent of their eligible populations to turn up to vote without making it mandatory. Dozens of other nations get better turnout than the United States.
There are 225 million eligible voters in America. If 53 percent of them actually vote, there will be 119 million people at the polls. But if 80 percent of all eligible voters showed up, it'd be 180 million people. In other words: if 80 percent of Americans voted instead of 53 percent, we'd have an extra 61 million voters.
"I think that if any of the Founding Fathers learned that there were people who didn't vote on election day because they just 'didn't feel like it,' they would have a stroke!" Blake Tan, who recently became a U.S. citizen, told A Plus in February. "And a hernia! A hernia-stroke! Then die because they didn't have health insurance."
If you're not happy with where things are, or even if you are happy and want to keep them going, you should vote. But that starts with registering, and today is a great day to do it.
You can register to vote by clicking here.
Cover photo: WikiCommons