The Primary Election - The Missourian: Columns

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The Primary Election

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Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 6:30 pm

Before any election there is speculation as to the number of people who will show up to cast ballots. The Aug. 5, 2014, election is no different.

The turnout at August primary elections can be small, from statewide down to the grassroots level. Often there aren’t many primary races on either ticket. That’s true in Franklin County this year. The one primary race that has sparked the most attention is for recorder of deeds on the Republican ticket. There are five candidates. A number such as that is very unusual in Franklin County.

There also are five statewide amendments before voters. In the city of Washington, the annexation proposal will result in eight ballots since the annexation plan is broken down in eight tracts. Washington voters will be given eight annexation ballots — a voter will ballot separately on each tract proposed for annexation. The people who live in the areas proposed for annexation will be given only one ballot — the area where they live.

Citizens of Washington will be balloting on 13 proposals when it comes to annexation and amendments, plus the candidate ballot for whichever party they select. That’s out of the ordinary at an August election.

As one voter put it, voters in Washington are going to be confused with so many ballot proposals. If a voter has been paying attention to what is going on, it should not be confusing. We all know many voters will not show up at the polls Aug. 5. They are not interested. They have other priorities than what’s on the ballot. They are hardly what you would call good citizens.

There are so many distractions in voters’ lives today. They are involved in many activities. They shun their civic duty of voting. Voters’ children are very active and that consumes parents’ time. During sports season they are running constantly. Many also are involved as volunteers. The election is the same week as the annual Washington Fair, which involves hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. The Washington Fair is the third largest in the state. There are countless other fairs around the state but they don’t compare to the one here — in fact, they don’t even come close.

We don’t know what it will take to get citizens to become more interested in their civic duty of voting. They say in a democracy the majority rules. Actually, a more correct assessment is that a majority of those who vote rule. It’s not a majority of the people.

People in foreign countries are critical of Americans because we have a freedom of opportunities, including voting, that they do not have. Some of these people live in what is termed a democratic system, but elections are rigged and dictators rule.

Really, there are few valid excuses for not voting. Election authorities have walked the extra mile to get voters to register, making it convenient for them. The absentee voter system accommodates many people. Modern techniques are employed in the polls to make casting a ballot easier. Still, too many people don’t vote.

We have people who vote in every election. They appreciate the voting privilege — really a basic right in America. They are the good, freedom-loving citizens.

/opinion/columns

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