Saturday, July 26, 2008

More on Voter Apathy...

Having a nice dialog of sorts via blog with a reader regarding voter apathy, why people didn't come out to vote. You'll need to go read the comments posted on previous blogs to get the comments, I'll try to explain enough so you don't have to if you don't want to!

I had noted in a previous blog that I had friends out doing informal polls as to why people didn't vote.

We have also talked to quite a few who had no idea who to vote for so they just voted for the incumbent. Chances are there were some who automatically voted against the incumbent, too, However, given the fact that across the state the incumbents did well, I would think people are either content with their elected officials or they didn't bother to find out anything and just voted incumbent.

Hard to know. Sometimes people go to vote for their next-door-neighbor who's running for office and when they get to the screen they realize they haven't got a clue about any of the other races. Rather than just skip all the other races they vote.

There are a lot of races where the candidates don't particularly excite me. If our Coroner had an opponent how many would get enthused about that race? There's a race for Probate Judge right now, a run-off. I'd venture to say a good number of people haven't got a clue what a probate judge does... and I doubt it's going to generate much excitement.

I think voting is something we should do regardless of whether we find the candidates exciting or whether they walk along the same path we might. Sometimes, some would argue maybe even oftentimes, people just have to go with the lesser of two evils.

However, if people got involved, if we were all working and fighting on some level to take care of our small local world, we might have more people willing to run for office and have more choices. If we came out to vote then I think our politicians might take us a bit more seriously also!

I saw a huge difference between the candidates. Probably because I'm super involved. I looked at this past race as a fight for the future of the county. Special interest voting vs. taking care of the tax payers, etc., etc., etc. But then again, I go to the County Commission meetings, regularly attend other political events, talk fairly often with our elected officials at all levels. I read all the press releases that come out from all the various official's offices and I know a lot of people who like and don't like our elected politicians and candidates. I get it from all sides.

I understand that I'm a bit outside the normal voter mode.

However, I find it frustrating that people seem to be getting less and less involved. Maybe it is an overall sense of "what good can little old me do-itis". When we start looking at the problems of the world today it can become overwhelming. It's much easier just to put on blinders, take care of our families rather than trying to affect any kind of change in the surrounding area.

Maybe some don't see that who we elect makes a bit of difference. At the local level who we elect makes a huge difference.

I don't believe in giving up. I believe we should always try. We owe it to future generations and to our immediate family to try and make the world just a little bit better if we can.

I don't think it's the caliber of the candidates that kept the majority of voters away from the polls, although I'm sure some did feel that way.

I also think my commenter over-simplifies the Smith vs. Bost thing. I actually believe the Sheriff was the power behind the races. I think he has a lot of support, has been in the county for umpteen years and is well liked. The candidates he supported won, pure and simple. Not to say all the candidates weren't out working hard, just that he has a true machine.

Nuff for the day, been gone for a few days and have tons to catch up on!

Oops, one more note to my fast-becoming-favorite-anonymous-commenter re: Democratic Party. Yep, am aware the Democratic Party is working hard. I did think that Judith Moore was heading up the Party now, and that Peter was the Past Chair or Prez? I'm sure he's still involved, noted he spoke at one of the Commission meetings earlier this year. Not being involved in the Democratic Party I'm not up on the latest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're probably right about Randall's influence. He does retain an enormous amount of pull with the groups that traditionally go to the polls around here.
To me, it looked like the only candidates that he openly endorsed were Hannah and Wingo. Others he endorsed privately or through some back door method. (for instance, by coming out against Wells and Simmons, Randall's supporters likely read "all Bost candidates." Plus, Randall and Dunn's differences have been well-documented.)

I also believe that Wells' candidacy hurt Dunn, Furhman and Pfeifer's. Wells running for tax commissioner reeked of nasty politics and revenge. I think that many people (including myself) connected Wells with those three running for commission. The one whose Wells connection was least tangible (Fuhrman) did the best at the polls. This Wells backlash is pure theory on my part, but I have heard others talk about this as well.

Even though Randall has pull, his influence decreases with higher turnout. Even with the old guard squarely under Randall's thumb, "his" candidates can be defeated.

Those running as challengers just didn't get people excited. They did not attract enough new voters. A few had already been in office before. I believe that once personal grudges and anger were stripped away, the differences between the incumbents and challengers were very subtle. For some, it likely came down to a matter of personality.

I predict that Pfeifer will lose in the run-off. Randall's influence grows at an inverse proportion to the voter turnout.

As for the Dems, Lewin took over for Judith earlier this summer. I don't know if he'll be successful.
Its tough to get even liberal Fayette citizens to rally around local democrats (it doesn't help when they fail to field even one candidate for local office). Like most progressive, politically active types around here, I voted in the Republican primary on the 15th. I will not be voting for many Republicans in November.

P.s. I apologize for remaining anonymous like the droning masses I detest over at Unfortunately, my job prevents me from doing otherwise. I appreciate the back and forth and I hope you can forgive my namelessness.