Americans! Your voting habits are terrible, so register to vote

Don’t be left out.
Don’t be left out.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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It’s National Voter Registration Day in the United States. Consider registering!

Federal elections are coming up on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. In a few states, you need to be registered to vote 30 days out from the election. That’s next weekend, so check these deadlines now.

In the US, presidential election participation is pretty high: Over 6 in 10 eligible Americans voted in the last three quadrennial elections.

The problem is midterm elections like this year—when Americans pick just their lawmakers, only four in ten voters make their voices heard.

This is not a very impressive return; half of the time, control of US congress is decided by a minority of voters.

If you compare the US to voter participation in wealthy countries that do not have a compulsory voting laws, you’ll find that Americans are terrible at voting compared to the Scandinavians, and indeed most other countries:

Who to blame? Traditionally, young people, who appear to have way better things to do than vote. Consider recent evidence:

Youth of America, you are needed in the voting booths. Particularly in Minnesota, according to researchers at Tufts University who track youth voting and found that young people could have a major impact on the state’s senate election and three contest House seats.

Speaking of states, here is every state that comes in below the US average in voter turnout. We’re looking at you, Hawaii.