Our/My View: Voter turnout ‘(a)pathetic’

An editorial by Jackson Frolic |

Turnout at the polls last week was so weak, even John G. Voter didn't bother to show up (Courtesy John G. Voter's wife's cellphone)
Turnout at the polls last week was so weak, even John G. Voter didn’t bother to show up (Courtesy Jane Q. Public’s cellphone)

Local voter turnout for last week’s election, estimated at less than 6 percent, was appalling. And it still is.

I know, I know. The common argument is, it was a “mid-term” election, so of course numbers will be lower than ideal.

That doesn’t cut it, though, if you’re a firm believer in the democratic process. It’s like a pro-life person saying, “it was only a late-term abortion.”

Closest parallel I could conjure.

Listen, man, I get it, we didn’t have much on the ballot in Bass Lake. Town crier, community awareness advocate/town council agenda supervisor and a sidewalk-repair initiative (which, let’s face it, is doomed to die on the vine of every wild weed poking through the concrete).

But come on. Six percent? Three gallons of milk can do that well. I’ve seen more people at a late-season Bass Lake University football game.

The most telltale statistic from this voting session was the fact there weren’t enough registered voters who bothered to enter the polling booth to flesh-out the agenda-supervisor race. Five candidates for it, and they all received the same number of votes. If just one additional Tom, Dick or Harry took five minutes out of his/her busy day, we’d have a clear-cut winner for that seat. Now, our town has to pay the salary of four extra people for the next 24 months (effective Jan. 1, 2016).

All of the above sounds like a cliche: Media member scolds the citizenry for shirking their civic duty, like I’m some god-almighty patriotic zealot. We know it’s as a much a right not to vote as it is to get the right to vote. Talk about “equal rights.” But when it becomes extreme — say, 9 percent turnout or below — then I get whiny.

I could go on and on, and I usually do, but I won’t. Participation was “pathetic,” to quote myself. And maybe “apathetic,” to boot. Perhaps both. Let that be a lesson to us all.

Conclusion? Next time, on election day, let’s do better. That’s all I ask. Is that too much to ask?

Yes, Jackson Frolic is still senior editor at the Beacon.

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