SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There are millions of people across Georgia and South Carolina who are apathetic when an Election Day rolls around.
For that segment of the population, getting to a voting booth to cast a ballot is nowhere near the top of their ‘to-do.’
“It’s like not really at the top of my priority list,” said 19-year-old Alexander Wood of Savannah. “Politics, just, I’m not interested in them to be honest.”
28-year-old Chris Hatton agrees. The Savannah resident says it’s a lack of faith in the political process quells any desire to cast a ballot.
“I don’t care about voting to be honest with you man,” Hatton said. “I don’t vote because I don’t believe in the government… period!”
Some say they don’t exercise their right to vote because they feel it’s an exercise in futility — like 81-year-old Amos Ferguson. The lifelong Savannah resident says he doesn’t believe his vote will change anything.
“Well, one vote don’t stop no show. If I’d have voted, they still gonna do like they want to do anyway.” Ferguson said.
In Georgia, the Secretary of State’s Office reports more than 23 percent of the registered voters did not vote in the 2016 general election. In South Carolina, that number is higher, as nearly a third of registered voters in the Palmetto State didn’t vote in 2016.
Historically, the weather has played a role in voter turnout, but News 3 talked with several people in the Hostess City who say they want to vote, but they are prohibited. because they’re convicted felons.
This was the case for James Newton, a Savannah man who is a convicted felon.
“I think it’s crazy. I paid my debt to society, so you know, it’s hard to speak out,” Newton said, adding he’s trying to get his voting rights restored.
“I called my probation officer and asked him about getting my rights back and I haven’t heard from him yet,” said Newton.
He said he will resume participation in our democratic process if his voting rights are restored. “Yes. I have voted until I went to prison,” Newton said.
Voter apathy reaches far beyond the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire.
The Census Bureau estimated that there were more than 245 million voting-aged Americans in November 2016.
The Census reports about 158 million people were registered to vote, but approximately 20 million of them did not cast ballots in the last presidential election.