The midterm election of 2018 saw the highest rate of voter turnout in more than a century — the United States Election Project's current estimate is that 50.3 percent of the eligible electorate participated in our democratic system, many sharing selfies on social media with "I Voted" stickers on proud display. In this ongoing series of audio portraits, I explore the perspectives of those who didn't vote, whether by choice or circumstance. If you or someone you know would like to participate in this project and share your story, please reach out. All experiences are welcome.
Mona, 31 years old
"If people feel like government doesn't make any difference to their lives and that ultimately things are going to be crap no matter what, or they're going to be great no matter what, then I as a journalist haven't done my job right."
Deanna, 19 years old
"There was not really a strong presence of political awareness in my household, especially even more in my neighborhood. My neighborhood is a very poor neighborhood and no one really is, like — that's not an importance."
Amanda, 32 years old
"If it were easier to vote, more people would vote today."
Dre, 29 years old
"I have an issue with how the country is being ran and the systemic oppression that, you know, arises within this country. And I think that one of the only ways to show that is by not abiding by the system."
Jaylan, 19 years old
"I'm a student and I work full time so it's really hard to find the time to figure out who the candidates are, who they stand for, what they want, and what I want to vote for."
Jessica, 30 years old
"I feel jealous of people that can vote. I wish I could help the fact that immigrants are being demonized in this country because I'm an immigrant and I'm here legally. So, I know how privileged I am but when I see how people are talking about people who are immigrating from my country, from Guatemala [...] it makes me frustrated because I want to do something about it."
Joey, 37 years old
"It'd be wonderful not to have to schlep somewhere where you're registered if you're not actually there that day. [...] Everybody should vote; they should make it a lot easier to vote, too."