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As Texas Democrats struggle to take back our state, we have to deal with the fact that literally millions of citizens here do not vote. In the November 2012 elections, only 53.8% voted here. So only 8.6 million voted, while 7.4 million citizens did not vote. The 5.3 million citizens who aren't even registered are included in that total, which is one reason that Battleground Texas has been focused on registering voters. When I'm not busy registering voters, though, I worry about how we're going to get a population that hasn't been voting to, you know, actually show up and vote.

So a segment during Monday's The Daily Show got my attention as Jason Jones investigated why Colorado state Sen. John Morse was recalled when a clear majority of Coloradans support the legislation he helped pass.

During the first half, Jason Jones interviews state Sen. Morse as well as citizens who did not vote in the recall:

Here's an excerpt (my emphasis):

Morse: The vast majority of Colorado supports gun safety legislation.

Jones: No!

Morse: Yes.

Jones: It says right here [graphic showing 61%-80% approval ratings]: The majority of the state approved of every single law Morse helped pass. Wait. What?

          I hit the streets of Colorado to find out what the hell happened.

Jones (now interviewing woman on street): Let's say there was a politician who was being recalled for enacting very level-headed gun safety legislation.

Woman: Sure.

Jones: Would you vote to save him?

Woman: Uh, yes. Yes.

Jones: Okay. Did you vote to save him?

Woman: No.

Man (being interviewed by Jones): I think the new gun laws here right now are pretty good.

Jones: Well that makes sense. So it would also make sense that you voted in the recall election. Right?

Man: I don't think I did. [...] When did we vote for that?

2nd man: I haven't voted yet. No.

Jones: Yet. It was in September. [...]

2nd man: [...] No, I didn't vote.

[Various individuals admitting that they didn't vote.]

Final man (discussing the legislation): I think it's just common sense, right. [...]

Jones: So it's just common sense that you would vote in the recall election.

Final man: Absolutely.

Jones: Did you?

Final man: I did not.

Morse: Eighty percent of the people didn't show up to vote.

As the segment continues, Jones tries to find out why the 20% who opposed the law turned out to vote at a higher rate:

Political consultant: All of our studies have shown that negative emotions motivate people more than positive emotions. And that's what happened in Colorado.

Jones: So how do you motivate reasonable people to come out and vote?

[...]

Political consultant: Yeah, make them angry.

If that is indeed the case, then it's gonna be a long, stressful year.
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Please note: My focus is on voters/non-voters in the context of citizens' approval of legislation, and not on the legislation itself. Please do not turn this into a fight over gun control. Thanks.

Originally posted to Kitchen Table Kibitzing on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Turning Texas: Election Digest.

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