President Barack Obama urged Americans frustrated with the lack of progress on immigration reform to voice their discontent at the ballot box, lamenting the dismal turnout in last November’s midterm elections. Speaking Wednesday during a town hall in Miami, Florida, hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart, Obama said the immigration system won’t truly change until voters elect lawmakers who will press for reform. “Ultimately, we have to change the law,” Obama said. “And the way that happens is, by the way, by voting”
He continued, “In the last election, a little over one-third of eligible voters voted. One-third! Two-thirds of the people who have the right to vote — because of the struggles of previous generation, had the right to vote — stayed home. I’m willing to bet that there are young people who have family members who are at risk of the existing immigration system who still didn’t vote.”
Voter turnout hit a 72-year low in 2014, with just 36.4 percent of eligible voters heading to the polls for the midterm elections — the lowest in any election cycle since World War II. While turnout is historically better in presidential years, 2014 participation was down 40.9 percent from the last midterm cycle in 2010.