Voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election was pathetic.
And the weird thing about it is that Kosciusko County was likely the envy of Northern Indiana at 19.6 percent.
In St. Joe County, turnout was less than 7 percent. Can you believe that? Not even 7 percent.
The Indianapolis Star reported fewer than 8 percent of registered voters in Indianapolis cast ballots.
According to records kept by the Indiana secretary of state’s office, that was the lowest of any nonmunicipal election in Marion County in at least 25 years.
Allen County had 12 percent turnout. Lake County almost made it to 13 percent and Vanderburgh County (Evansville) turned out fewer than 6 percent of its registered voters.
This, of course, is not the fault of those who seek elected office. No, it’s not the candidates’ fault. But at the same time, if I was an elected official, it would be hard for me to claim a mandate to govern knowing 90-plus percent of my constituents had nothing to do with my election.
I was listening to the Pat Miller show on WOWO the other day. He was extolling the virtues of voting – telling listeners how important it was.
And he asked listeners – specifically 20-something listeners – to call in and explain why they voted, or didn’t vote.
One caller – a young woman – called in to say that she knew nothing about politics and didn’t vote because politics had no affect on her life.
I was stunned. This is beyond misinformed. This is brain dead. Really? Politics and elections have no affect on your life. You’re going with that intellectual gem. Live. On the radio.
Elected officials have an affect on virtually everything in your life. Your healthcare, your work environment, your wages, your car, your clothes dryer, your lawnmower, your food, your beverages, your water, your real estate, your taxes ...
The people who get elected are the ones who get to make the rules the rest of us live by. How could you not want a say in who those elected officials are?
I couldn’t believe the depth of this person’s ignorance. But you know what? She didn’t sound ignorant. She was very well-spoken and more than likely was well-educated.
And therein lies the problem. When I was a kid in high school – lo these 40 years ago – teachers made a big deal about voting and elections.
In civics class we learned all about how elections work and how laws get passed in a constitutional republic like the U.S.
We were told how imporant it was to be informed and vote. We learned about the system of checks and balances and how the ultimate check and balance was performed in the voting booth.
One of my teachers even tested us on the ballot. We had to know which candidate in which party was running for which office.
I bet they don’t do that in school anymore. No time. Lots more important, government-mandated nonsense to shove into kids heads so they can parrot it back on some standardized test.
Another caller said he didn’t realize there was an election.
There are yard signs and billboards all over town. There are spots blaring on every television and radio station. The newspapers are full of campaign ads, and this guy says he had no idea there was an election this week.
OK, well, I guess I really don’t even know how to respond to that.
Here’s the bottom line. With this level of voter apathy, we will never get the type of legislature that crafts laws in the best interests of all of us.
That’s because only the most politically active types are showing up at the polls. And invariably, only the most ideologically motivated candidates run for office and get elected.
That puts a huge, unbridgeable chasm in the middle, between the right and the left. This becomes a legislative dead zone.
Unfortunately, this dead zone is precisely where the most effective laws should be crafted.
If this doesn’t turn around, we will just get bounced from election cycle to election cycle. The left will have a majority and pass laws that only those on the left approve. After awhile, enough voters will revolt to give power to the right, which will then pass laws that only those on the right approve.
The pendulum swings back and forth. We wind up with a whole pile of laws that are crafted without the benefit of compromise or input from both sides.
Democrats got in control in 2009. They crammed a massive health care bureaucracy down all of our throats even though most Americans didn’t want one.
If and when Republicans take control, they’ll probably foist a bunch of tax cuts for corporations upon the masses no matter how unpopular the policy.
Somewhere in the middle of both of those issues are meaningful compromises that would have been in the best interest of the vast majority of Americans who don’t live on the right or the left.
Americans who live in the middle of the political spectrum.
The no-man’s land of today’s politics.