Frankly, this blog title leaves a lot to be desired, but it does convey the facts. We survived yet another election yesterday, and we now have a clear view of the final portion of the various races of people working to retain or gain an office. We all know that elections have consequences. Some election results are very pleasing to us while we abhor the results in other races.
We have elections beginning at the lowest levels of government and extending to the highest office in our land. We are touched by those results no matter the level of the office. There are days when I would argue that we are impacted more often by the happenings in our local and statewide elections than in the national elections. We are unable to do too much about the happenings at the national level given the length of the terms for those offices except for those of our members of the House of Representatives. They, of course, stand before us every two years and are more directly judged by us on their results.
Then we see four-year terms for President and Vice-President (which are almost eight-year terms in reality), and six-year terms for Senators (which are more often twelve-year terms or greater in reality).
We had local/statewide elections yesterday and the turn-out in the location I worked was paltry. Some 460 votes were cast in a district having some 6,600 registered voters. Some 7% of the residents in this area made decisions affecting 100% of the residents. And this is apparently not all that unusual listening to those workers who have been involved in several partisan primary elections.
Either voter apathy is alive and well or the citizens are very happy with their government. If this low turn-out was due to voters being very happy with those elected earlier, that is one thing. If on the other hand, they simply couldn’t be bothered to cast ballots in other than a presidential election, then there is a very real voter apathy problem. It is true that the decisions made as to lower levels of government are often not as significant in terms of impact or cost as those at higher levels of government. Maybe that is the root cause of these kinds of turn-outs. But that lack of demonstrated voter oversight can be an invitation to greater issues developing in the future.
Yesterday’s election has determined the final statewide ballot as well as the ballot make-up for some community level representatives. I have little doubt that the presidential election will be a ‘barn-burner’ so far as voter turn-out. I was tired last evening when we finally closed shop and tallied and reported results. I can only imagine how tired I’ll be at the end of a presidential election evening.
But, it is a great feeling to be involved, and I’d encourage any readers wherever you reside to give serious thought to helping in your local polling locations. If nothing else, you get to see neighbors who you might otherwise not see for longer time periods, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you helped make a difference.
Please exercise your right to vote in every election, not just the big national-implication races.