Voter Apathy: Man-on-the-Street Voices from San Francisco



By: Journalism 1 Staff Writers

As a continuation of Opinion’s November piece “Voter Apathy”, the Smoke Signal staff interviewed people in San Francisco on November 12 about their involvement in the political process and the propositions they voted for on the November 4 election. Here are their thoughts:


Voted: 47.1%

Did not vote: 52.9%

(Total interviewed: 85)


Reasons that qualified voters gave for not voting*:

  1. Lack of knowledge about elections: 17.1%

  2. Felt that their vote would not make a difference: 31.4%

  3. Lack of time, work obligations: 22.9%

  4. Religious reasons: 8.6%

  5. Other: 20%

*Excludes underage people, non-citizens, and those who were not in the area on election day.


“I supported propositions 1 and 2; I thought that they were very farsighted propositions. I also voted for Proposition D in Berkeley… I used to live in Hong Kong, where everyone would drink soda and not milk, but when I went to Japan I saw that people drank milk and not soda because milk is cheap. I think that it is not a matter of the drink but a lot of it is about the economy.” –Frances, Interpreter


“I didn’t even vote. I just didn’t feel it. I guess that says that I don’t really care about the politics…. My concerns for the propositions didn’t outweigh my apathy, I guess.” –Ellie, Retired


“The proposition that I felt strongly about was the proposition based on California’s water system (Prop 1). In the news there were a couple of stories of people who didn’t have water and it really impacted my view on the human condition.” –Adrian, Construction Worker


“I did not vote. I firmly believed the system is broken. I hope abstaining will discourage all that bureaucratic nonsense that is going on.” — Rick, Electrical Technician


“But honestly, I don’t think it’s that important for college students or the younger generation to vote. From what I’ve seen, students are too unreliable and far too easily swayed by the politicians.” — Mavis, College Student and Fashion Designer


“No, I never vote because I believe that voting separates people. It’s too hard and to live separated from each other, and I think voting does that.” — Nathan, Jehovah’s Witnesses Student


“I’m Scottish, so no, I didn’t vote here. However, if I could, I definitely would… Voting is a duty… I voted in the Scottish independence vote, for example.” — Alex, Retired


“I voted for Prop. 46 because I’m a healthcare worker and unfortunately, I have seen medical personnel under the influence at work. Doctors should be tested. They have access to every drug known to mankind. It’s a matter of safety.” — Hollice, Healthcare Worker


“I supported Prop 47 because of family members affected by crime laws I feel were unfair.” — Mike, Photographer


“I don’t think enough citizens vote and a lot of people aren’t doing their duty, respecting those people who fought for our right to vote both here and in foreign lands.” — Rick, Police Officer


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