If the voter apathy continues in its downward slide in local elections, the day may not be too far removed that less than 10 percent of the registered voters will elect mayors, council and school board members and a host of other local officials of taxing entities in our county.
In last week’s election, only about 13 percent of the registered voters in Franklin County bothered to vote. That’s embarrassing. It’s a slap in the face to democracy. It’s rejection of a citizen’s civic duty. It’s disgraceful.
And, we hear people question the abilities and qualifications of elected local officials. If they are concerned, why don’t they vote?
What kind of example does this give to young people who aren’t eligible to vote? We know what some people in foreign countries think of our low voter turnout. We’ve heard them say that’s why we have a government that doesn’t really represent the people because we don’t vote. We also have heard critical comments such as the CIA is an evil body that is harmful around the world. In other words, some of our agencies are out of control because of a lack of interest in our elections. They also say we don’t appreciate the freedoms we have.
We don’t know what can be done to get people to the polls. What can be done to create interest in our local affairs that affect their lives? It isn’t because the activities of local boards are not publicized. Ample information about candidates and local issues on the ballot is available from the media.
We are sick of hearing people say their vote won’t make any difference. Every vote can make a difference.
Are our schools not doing a good job of teaching citizenship? Are parents not teaching citizenship in homes?
People in communities do many worthwhile things for their towns and cities — except they don’t vote. Challenges to meet worthwhile causes that affect people’s lives are successfully handled — except people don’t vote. Citizens turn out for all kinds of recreational and entertainment activities — but people don’t turn out to vote.
Is it going to take the loss of some major freedoms to arouse people to vote?