National: 1.7 million people in 33 states and D.C. cast a ballot without voting in the presidential race | The Washington Post
In every election, there are people who go to the polls to cast a ballot but who don’t vote in every race. Usually, those “undervotes,” as they’re called, happen down-ballot, resulting in fewer votes for, say, county commissioner than, say, president of the United States. But in every election there are also people who skip the presidential ballot for whatever reason. It happens. With 2016 pitting two historically unpopular candidates against one another, we were curious about the extent to which undervoting occurred in the marquee contest this year. We found some evidence that it was occurring a few weeks ago, but set out to tally the undervote more deliberately, pulling in data from every state to figure out how many people skipped the top of the ticket. We were able to compile data from 33 states and D.C. In those states in 2012, there were 754,000 undervotes at the top of the ticket — about 0.9 percent of all ballots cast. In 2016? At least 1.75 million people skipped the presidential contest, 2 percent of the total. In other words, in these states, one out of every 50 people declined to vote in the presidential contest. That undervote varies by state. In only three states was the undervote percentage down. In states where it was up, it was up by an average of 2.5 times as much as in 2012.