How many people don't vote because their vote probably won't count?

My wife asked me if I was going to register to vote, and I seriously considered not bothering. I live in Texas, which almost always goes Republican, so there’s not much point in me voting. I’m considering it, but mainly because there is a small chance that Texas could go blue this year.

I don’t feel guilty about it, but I wonder what makes me different from my mother and my wife, who both plan on voting. My mother lives in Oklahoma, which has a much smaller chance of going Democratic than Texas, and she has a disability which will make it a real hardship to get to a polling station, but she still plans on voting for Obama.

So, how many people out there are like me, who would vote if they lived in a “battleground state” but are probably not going to because they don’t? How many of those are of the same party that is probably going to get their electoral votes (i.e. Republicans in Oklahoma who aren’t voting because they know their state will go Republican anyway)?

I don’t vote either. But not because I don’t think my vote matters…it’s because I could care less who is president.

As I mentioned in the other thread on this topic, there are plenty of issues on the ballot in addition to the choosing the president. Even in the reddest or bluest of states, it’s unlikely that there are no candidates or issues on which the electorate is divided. And your vote is far more likely to have an impact on a local race or issue than on the presidency. Even though my state, California, will undoubtedly choose Obama, I have a hard time believing that there are very many voters who have no opinion on Prop. 8, which would ban gay marriage. Whatever their position, any voter who doesn’t go to the polls because their vote in the presidential race won’t matter is missing out on the chance to make their voice heard on the same-sex marriage issue.

Before you decide not to vote because your state is firmly in one presidential column, or even because you don’t care who is president, make sure that there’s nothing else on the ballot that matters to you.

If I feel my vote won’t count, then I vote third party just for the hell of it. Likewise if I know nothing about the candidates and the office isn’t prominent enough for an unknown candidate to do much damage. So I’ll vote for the Libertarian or Green county coroner.

If you live in Texas, your vote for President probably won’t matter. But, the state legislature is competitive and your vote could make a difference.