OK I will caveat this blog by saying that none of these numbers are exact; and you already know this. When conducting any polling data – even years after elections – it seems the numbers never ‘add up.’ You type this or that query in Google you get one result, you research this or that ‘fact’ on Wikipedia you get another result, and so on. That said, here are some quick numbers on voting.
While proceeding please keep in mind the stark difference between someone who is eligible and someone who is registered to vote.
First, in America:
During the 2012 presidential election the United States had a population of approximately ~314M; of this 235M were eligible to vote, or 74.84% of the population. Of the 235M eligible voters, turnout was ~54.9%, or 126M votes cast; this means ~100M+ eligible voters didn’t even bother. Oh yeah keep in mind there were really only two “known” political parties to choose between.
Now, for Iran:
During the 2013 elections Iran had a population of approximately ~77.45M; for today’s elections the population is above 81M. Of the 2013 population, 54.915M were registered voters, or 71% of their population. Registered! Of the elections today, it is estimated 59M people were eligible to vote and a 70+% voter turnout was expected. Iran has over 250 registered political parties to choose from.
In other words, a country associated with autocrats and theological dictators has more choice & higher voter turnout than the exceptionalist nation of the United States.
(Don’t get me wrong, Iran is by no means ‘democratic,’ not even these elections. But, there’s something to be said for a system that isn’t democratic that attempts the semblance of democracy, and a supposedly democratic system that suppresses votes, voter turnout, and voter engagement, that diminishes choice (wherever is that ‘free market’ in the political process?) and uses electoral ‘colleges’ instead of popular votes to nominate office-holders.)
It’s a funny things that small-d democratic process.