Errol Morris Finds 11 Reasons Not to Vote

The Academy Award-winning documentarian interviews over 50 potential voters to find out just why anyone wouldn’t go to the polls on November 6.

As Co.Create has mentioned once or twice, the U.S. presidential election is coming up on November 6. Of course, for some people this information is of little consequence, as they are not planning on voting.


Despite its somewhat misleading title, 11 Excellent Reasons Not to Vote is a brief documentary that encourages people to vote by playing devil’s advocate and exploring some of the reasons not to vote. Created by agency CHI & Partners NY for non-profit and directed by Academy Award-winner Errol Morris, the video reveals as much about what gets people fired up for democracy as it does about what leaves others completely apathetic.

This past October, Morris spoke to more than 50 people between ages 18 and 40, almost all of whom are planning to vote in the upcoming election. As the director points in a New York Times Op-Ed piece accompanying the video, this is not a representative sample. Less than 51% of young people are expected to show up at the polls this year. 11 Excellent Reasons is the result of one man’s efforts to pinpoint why that is.

“If hope isn’t doing it,” Morris says, in the New York Times Op-Ed, “Isn’t the fear of the other guy winning enough to brave the roads, the long lines?”

Some of the potential reasons why it’s not enough include “apathy,” “awkward family dinners,” and “Florida.” On the other hand, most of those who appear in the video seem to relish the opportunity to cancel out the vote of someone with an opposing ideology. The variety of interviewees includes people from different races, genders, and sexual orientations. An interesting game could probably be made of guessing who is going to vote for which candidate, based solely on their outfits.

Ultimately, Morris attempts to explain his own reasons for voting as well. “I don’t know what, in the end, forces me to vote,” he writes in the Op-Ed. “It could be fear; it could be guilt. Although my mother died over 10 years ago, I feel that she is watching me, and I don’t want to disappoint her.”