- Nearly 100 million eligible voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election.
- The United States is preparing for what may be the highest recorded voter turnout rate in over a century, but some people are still opting out.
- Insider spoke to two eligible voters who are choosing not to vote in 2020 to learn more about their decision.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
As he sits at his computer and takes off in his flight simulator, Sam Corman isn't concerned about the outcome of the US presidential election. Corman's already made his decision: He'll be one of the millions of non-voters in what may be the election with the highest recorded voter turnout rate in over a century.
In 2016, about 100 million eligible voters never cast a ballot, according to the Knight Foundation. That election was no anomaly — in every presidential election since 1912, at least 35% of eligible voters abstained from casting a ballot.
Corman was first eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The 23-year-old from Connecticut told Insider he previously refrained from voting because he didn't think his vote mattered. Connecticut is a solidly blue state, and he felt his vote would not have an impact.
Corman ardently reads both Fox News and the New York Times, publications he says represent "both sides" — he feels this allows him to get the full story of American politics. But after seeing the bigger picture, he said, Corman has no desire to in this election.
What's holding Corman back in 2020 is the quality of the candidates. He told Insider that he would be much more likely to vote if Democrats and Republicans were better represented on Election Day.
"I don't believe that either candidate is good or will be a good president," Corman said. "We've seen one, and the other I just don't believe it is a good alternative, so I don't think that my vote should go to either one."
To him, neither candidate has justifiably answered for multiple allegations of sexual assault in their pasts.
"There are countless sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, and there are multiple against Biden," Corman said. He just doesn't understand why that doesn't perturb his more liberal friends.
"By voting for someone who has those allegations, you're completely undermining your entire belief system," he said. "That's my opinion."
Corman isn't alone in his feelings about the two major presidential candidates. Insider found that 21% of self-identified non-voters in its surveys choose not to vote because they are dissatisfied with Biden and Trump.
For some non-voters, the problem goes beyond the candidates; they believe the entire election system is broken.
Despite voting in previous elections, Vanessa is abstaining in 2020. The 31-year-old told Insider following the first presidential debate that she feels "like America is the laughing stock of the world right now."
Instead of focusing on the problems at hand, she said, "all politicians are focused on is bashing each other."
Vanessa grew up in a home in southwestern Ohio, where politics were often discussed at the dinner table. Surrounded by Republican family and friends, she fell in line and voted similarly. She told Insider that she still leans Republican, but doesn't believe her singular vote makes enough of a difference.
Ohio is home to one of the most competitive races in the entire election. With less than two weeks until Election Day, Trump is leading Biden in an average of polls by just 1%, according to FiveThirtyEight. Estimates from RealClearPolitics show Biden trailing by an even slimmer margin: 0.6 points. Even so, Vanessa has no desire to cast a ballot.
What's stopping her from voting is not a specific qualm about the candidate's pasts or verbal miscues, but about politicians themselves. Ultimately, she told Insider that they simply do not care about their campaign promises.
"At the end of the day," she said, "the politicians are going to do exactly what they want to do."
With less than two weeks to go, over 50 million ballots have been cast around the US. Texas, a state that could decide the presidency on Election Night, has already cast 71% of its total vote count from 2016 — it's one of many states seeing record turnouts around the country.
Even with a high turnout, there will still always be millions of non-voters that cannot be swayed by a different candidate. Insider found that 11% of non-voters in its surveys do so out of systemic problems, disagreements with the process, or contention that their vote is ineffective.
Vanessa told Insider that "there are millions of people in America who vote," and that she believes her one vote means nothing. That sentiment continues to echo among a large swath of non-voters in the US.
"I don't really feel that my vote matters," she said. "I just, I see no point in it."
More on non-voters:
Insider poll: More than 20% of Asian Americans say they do not plan on voting in the 2020 election
Insider poll: People without a college degree are much more likely than others to say they don't intend to vote this year
Unemployed Americans are more likely to not vote, a new Insider poll finds
America's 1.3 million Jehovah's Witnesses will be sitting out the election
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