Friday, July 25, 2008

Voter Apathy 2

I had a comment or two about the reason people didn't vote in the last few elections. The anonymous comments indicated that there weren't any viable, exiting, candidates. Nothing new, no one with a good message, etc., etc.

It was thought provoking and made me curious so I have had some friends out doing some unscientific polling.

Thus far all who said they didn't vote have said either they didn't think their vote ever mattered, they didn't have time to look at the candidates or they just didn't have time, were too busy, to vote.

A number of the people who did vote didn't know anything about the candidates, either. They did it based on friends recommendations.

Now there are a strong percentage of voters (I like to believe) who do read the papers, look at the videos, do their own research.

However, based on attendance at the forums, people didn't even bother to check out the candidates. I went to every forum. Aside from the two which included the sheriff candidates, there may have been 4 or 5 people in the audience who weren't affiliated with the candidates.

I go to the county commission meetings and to city council meetings on occasion. The only time there are more than one or two people is when there's something that is going to be in a group's backyard (we call 'em nimby's --- not in my back yard). Most elected officials know that only the nimby's are going to show up and then only if they happen to get word that a rezoning affects their square acres of Fayette County (or wherever).

A lot of people who moved here to Fayette County did so because they were disgusted or unhappy with the way their previous home of choice deteriorated. Based on the involvement in this county currently (it used to be much, much higher) I'd say they were quite possibly part of the problem where they used to live... they didn't get involved there, woke up one day and realized things had gone down hill. They moved to a better place. They're not watching what is going on here now and thus in a year, two years, five years, when the kids get out of school, they'll move to another bright spot.

It takes vigilance and involvement to keep anything great. We don't seem to have many who are willing to protect our quality of life. Lots of complainers, not a lot of action.

I have noted two groups that have sprung up recently. One is Harold Bost's Fayette Citizen for Open Government PAC, which the commenter probably won't care to read about as his / her contention is the last race was between Jack Smith and Harold Bost to some degree. However, I'll tackle that one at a later date. The PAC, from what I'm hearing, has attracted a fairly large number of participants so quite possibly it will become a force to recon with.

The other group is called Fayette Firewall. I gather it is a loose-knit group of individuals who write a joint blog or two. They have recently set up a website with articles on it so they may be getting real serious.

I'll be watching both to see if they're able to help spur some to get involved. I doubt anyone is going to agree with all that either group does, but even when there are differences of opinion, it's just good to see the concern and willingness to get involved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No one at the forums...
Your community "pollsters" hearing stories about people who "hadn't heard about the election" or "didn't care."

This could be interpreted as voter apathy...
But, couldn't this just as easily be attributed to lousy candidates?

Had there been some fresh ideas or some important issues, more people would have been talking about the election. More people would have gone to the polls. If our county is so special, then we deserve way better than Bost v. Smith and other personal grudges.

p.s. you forgot to mention that Peter Lewin is trying his darndest to bring the Fayette Democratic Party back from the dead. That's another group of concerned citizens for you.