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ELECTION 2012

Nonvoters: Too busy, fed up, pessimistic

'Sometimes either choice goes against everything we believe in'

(USNEWS.NBCNEWS) — Tabitha Brown, 29, of Oregon, says she won’t vote because she finds her ballot too confusing. “I’m just a simple girl,” she said. “Dumb it down for us.”

In Buffalo, N.Y., Ryan King, 19, said he won’t vote because he doesn’t know if he’s registered. He mailed in a registration form, but no one replied, so he doesn’t know where to show up. Further south in the Bronx, Lala, a woman who is staying at a shelter, isn’t voting because she thought she needed a state ID, which she can’t afford. When she learned she didn’t need an ID, it was too late to register.

Political pundits say undecided voters will determine the election, but little is said about people like Brown, King and Lala, who aren’t voting. Since the 1960s, voter turnout has steadily declined in the U.S., which already ranks near the bottom among established democracies. In 2008, 64 percent of voting-age citizens voted, compared with 93 percent in Chile, 86 percent in Germany and 74 percent in Canada.

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