The US Census Bureau is out with its biennial post-election survey of who voted – and who didn’t. You can see breakdowns of voting in the 2010 election by race, gender, education level, occupation, and so forth, often by state. For example, nationally, people in families that earned $100,000 or more were twice as likely to vote in 2010 as those in families earning less than $20,000. Social science researchers take this series of reports very seriously, but they come with an important caveat. People like to say they vote even when they don’t, so beware: In North Carolina, for example, three million people said they voted in 2010, but the State Board of Elections figures show only 2.7 million ballots were actually casts – that’s a 10% overstatement by your friends and neighbors. On the other hand, many people don’t realize they are still registered to vote even though they haven’t done so in years; the Census poll shows 4.4 million North Carolinians said they are registered but there are about one million more in active registration status. Despite these problems, the dramatic differences in rates based on education, age and income are telling. Any way you cut the numbers, we have a long way to go to compete with the level of voter participation in states like Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and Iowa.