What's Worse - Voter Apathy or Voter Suppression?

What's Worse - Voter Apathy or Voter Suppression?

What’s Worse - Voter Apathy or Voter Suppression?

By Viola Davis RN BSN

There has been much discussion of the issue of voter suppression.  While reading an article on the Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, the article stated that voter suppression was the major issue discussed with panelist such as political strategist Donna Brazile, activist and MSNBC TV host Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga).  The National Urban League also claimed the voter suppression issue was one of their top priorities. 

I was fascinated that voter suppression took priority over jobs.  I debated the issue with my family members focusing first on the issue of voter suppression then voter apathy.  I asked my family members, what’s worse - voter apathy or voter suppression? 

I refused to debate whether voter suppression should take priority over the issue of jobs because jobs should be our top priority period.  With us in the middle of a recession (some say a depression), we are focusing on voter suppression.  It’s hard to believe.  Well, let’s first look at the definition of voter suppression and voter apathy:

  • Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote.  Voter suppression attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against the candidate or proposition advocated by the suppressors.
  • Voter apathy is perceived apathy (lack of caring) among voters in an election. Voter apathy is often cited as a cause of low turnout among eligible voters.

My brother said that voter apathy is more dangerous than voter suppression because the suppressors can’t succeed with passing laws to “suppress” the vote without apathy.  However, my mother said voter suppression was worst because changing the laws will stop the people from voting regardless if the people come out of their apathy.  I must admit both opinions are good.  I personally said apathy in agreement with my brother.  One need only to look at the number of active voters compared to registered voter to realize what we are talking about. 

According to the 2012 primaries in DeKalb County, approximately 127,311 of 405,103 registered voters cast a ballot for a percentage of 31.43%.  This leaves over 68% (over 277,000 voters) of the electorate engaging in a personal act of “self imposed” neglect to exercise their right to vote. 

Why should we care?  In the state of Georgia, the difference between the vote of Barack Obama and John McCain was 204,792 votes.  In the Georgia gubernatorial election of 2010, Governor Nathan Deal beat challenger Roy Barnes by 258,821 votes.  More people stayed home in DeKalb County and refused to exercise their right to vote then the number of votes for the Republican candidate to beat the Democratic candidate.  Do you see the power of the vote?

Let’s face some uncomfortable truths.  Apathy is probably the greatest gift the public gives willingly to those who strive to control and suppress the vote.  It cost no money to implement and the rewards are many in the name of passing laws the suppressors are advocating.  If you are unemployed or have a family members or friends that are unemployed, you need to vote.  Your vote will decide what laws and policies will pass in the upcoming years.   


  1. Veterans’ job bill blockedhttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57517160/senate-gop-blocks-veterans-jobs-bill/


  1. American Job Acthttp://www.americanjobsact.com/


What’s your opinion?  Is voter apathy worse then voter suppression?

Ruby Bozeman Davis, Co-Founder of the Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter, assisted with this article.  Unhappy Taxpayer & Voter is a watchdog group and community ministry which focuses on anything that adversely affects taxpayers and voters.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pat Deas September 28, 2012 at 02:56 PM
As an RN, voter apathy reminds me of patients who are non-compliant with taking prescribed care for their health, yet expect changes in their health status.Just as pts. who won't seek alternatives when dissatisfied with the recommended care, those who complain about injustices,etc. usually won't assist others who are trying to make positive changes.The suppressors can only get their power if apathetic voters and complacent communities refuse to get involved.Every adult who has 2 hands and 1 mouth is very valuable to their community.I totally agree with Michael Jackson's song that says"If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, then make that change".
Gwendolyn Satcher September 28, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I totally agree with the Blog and comment. Apathy to the one most important right in your life and people chose not to vote. They miss the understanding of the power of the vote which affects both State and National Congress. If the Democratic party controlled both the Senate and the House, many of the bills and laws in which the President would like passed would be passed, especially the Fair Tax Act. I pay more taxes than Romney and I work hard everyday. I try to find loopholes for me and there are none. STOP - THE APATHY! LOOK - AT WHOSE REALLY GETTING THE CONTROL! LISTEN: TO WHAT IS TRUELY BEING SAID FROM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. Use your vote and go vote.


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