Roughly 37 percent of Michigan’s voting-age population did not vote in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.
David Hilt, 21, of Harrison Township, is one of those 2,862,631 eligible non-voters.
“Politics don’t interest me,” Hilt said. “I’m not really into it, I never look into it at all.”
Hilt belongs to a family he would describe as middle-class: His father a carpenter, his mother a manager at a fertility center. Like many, Hilt would never bring up politics at the dinner table, he said. He sees the topic as just a way of starting arguments.
In August, a record-breaking primary turnout brought more than 2.1 million voters to the polls, a turnout of about 29 percent of registered voters, according to the Detroit Free Press. But Hilt won’t be part of any trends in increased voter engagement among youth or any other demographic.
He’s fine with how the government has been for some time, and his family’s lifestyle hasn’t been affected much by any government decisions or actions in his memory. Necessities such as healthcare haven’t been impacted either, he said.
Not having a desire to get involved politically, Hilt said he doesn’t know much about the registration process either. Even if he was interested in voting, he believes his vote would equate to a drop in the bucket.
More than 5.6 million people like Hilt, either registered to vote or eligible to register, did not vote in the Aug. 7 primaries. For Hilt and many others, being such a small part of those immense numbers might create the feeling that one more voice, even theirs, would not create an impact.
“I’m gonna be one of those guys who say I have no effect if I voted,” Hilt said. “I wouldn’t change anything.”
Hilt is a junior at Macomb Community College, where he studies business. Not because he’s very interested in business itself, but because of its potential utility in many different careers and fields, he said. Never having decided on a career path growing up, he’s still not sure what he wants to end up doing for a living.
“Ironically, as a kid, I was interested in… being an engineer, for cars,” Hilt said. He still appreciates car design, but his continued interest isn’t the type he’d want to be a career, he said.
In spite of having no clear future plans, Hilt is content where he’s at in life right now. He’s interested in sports and spending time with his friends, enjoying his youth while he’s still young, he said.
“If I’m like this at 25, that’s a different story,” Hilt said.
Hypothetically, if he has absolutely nothing else to do, the boredom might drive him toward looking into being politically involved. But he doesn’t see that happening.
Another driver might be if something ends up specifically affecting him personally, but he doesn’t see that happening either. He’s content with being ignorant on the subject, he said.
“That will never be my life, I promise you,” Hilt said.