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Nearly Half of Eligible Americans Didn’t Vote This Year

Upon learning that Donald Trump had won this year’s presidential election, many of us proceeded to spend our Wednesdays wondering how. How were poll projections so off? How did he and Hillary Clinton nearly tie in multiple states? Most importantly, how did he win? Well, according to the United States Election Project, close to 47 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote.

There are 231,556,622 eligible voters in the United States. Of those people, 46.9 percent elected to not vote. This is a much lower turnout than what we witnessed during the 2008 and 2012 elections. As dismal as it is, though, Cosmopolitan reports that the lowest voter turnout in history occurred during the 1996 election, when 49 percent of eligible voters decided to abstain from choosing between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.

Those who did vote this year made for a tight race. Out of all eligible voters, 25.6 percent cast their ballots for Clinton. 25.5 percent chose Trump, and 1.7 percent opted for third-party candidate Gary Johnson. In swing states, 36.5 percent didn’t vote, 29.9 percent sided with Clinton, 30.9 percent went to Trump and 1.9 percent voted for Johnson.

If you or anyone you know has ever thought that voting isn’t important, remember this: state results were close. So close, in fact, that several were decided by just thousands of votes. Clinton won the popular vote, but she didn’t win the electoral college because those swing states just barely tipped the other way. Your vote counts. Continue to make it count.

Megan Sawey is a senior advertising major at Temple University. She maintains deep passions for puns, distance running, hula hooping and peanut butter. Originally from the woods of Western Pennsylvania, Megan now resides and writes in Philadelphia. You can find her on www.megansawey.com and www.girlslife.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @sanseysawey.