Low voter turnout in the United States has confounded politicians, activists and academics seeking to reverse a trend that puts the country behind many of the world’s developed nations in participation at the polls.
In August, the Pew Research Center ranked the U.S. 31st out of 35 countries for voter turnout based on the voting age populace, among the mostly democratic nations that are a part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The study showed 53 percent of eligible voters in the U.S. cast ballots in 2012, the last time a presidential election was held, with about 129 million people out of a potential 241 million citizens taking part in the election.
In recent history, participation in the U.S. has peaked during presidential elections, when the last several decades show about 55 to 60 percent of the eligible electorate will vote. But those numbers trail off during non-presidential years and in primary races.