Low Turnout

Kitsap Sun reporter Angela Smith has some questions for you. She’s working on a story about low voter turnout in elections like the one we’re in the middle of. Granted, you might not be the target audience, because if you read this site, chances are good you’re going to vote by Tuesday. Nonetheless, she’d like to know:

What would keep you from voting in a junior taxing district race or any of
the smaller, less publicized races such as sewer, water, fire districts,
etc.?

How do you learn about the issues and candidates in those races?

Do you feel that those races (besides school boards) make much of an impact
on people’s everyday lives?

6 thoughts on “Low Turnout

  1. I think that the switch to all mail in ballots help the turnout for off year elections. Before the switch more than 75% of Kitsap voted by mail but since we have close election the turnout matters. Just ask Dino Rossi.

    Also by vote by mail help parties identify if their members and people on their voter watch list have turned in their ballots. One way to get members of a political party to stop reminding you to turn in your ballot in election time is to vote as soon as you get it.

    Before the switch to all mail voting I would encourage people who I registered to vote to consider vote by mail if they are not sure where their polling place was or if they were busy on election day.

    As someone who has read the Conyers House Judicial committee report on the 2004 Presidential election problems in Ohio I can say that if more people in the buckeye state voted by mail and got to vote. Former Ohio Secretary of State (and head of the Bush Campaign in Ohio) Ken Blackwell should be in prison for deliberate violations of the Voting Rights Act. Anyone who cares about our democracy and our elections should read “The Conyers Report” on Ohio 2004.

    What would keep me from voting for a down ballot position in an off year election? Not knowing about the candidates or a candidate being unopposed.

    How do I lean about them. The voters pamphlet, party endorsement and local media like the Kitsap Sun.

    Do I feel like they matter? Yes of course they do. Any position in government that has to deal with a budget or is paid with a budget matters to the every day voter. Also candidates for these position might one day run for a higher office.

  2. The toughest part for me, that may affect voter turnout, at least in a small way, is mailing my college attending children’s ballots to them in time.

    My youngest son suggested voting “for them,” but we don’t want felony charges, so that won’t work.

    We just mail them off and hope they arrive in time.

    There are always issues, however, on the ballots that you realize you haven’t bothered reflecting upon and for which you need more education. So, sometimes I wait until I have more knowledge before I vote.

    Maybe people are feeling that way, that they don’t understand the issues or know the candidates.

    How many times have you played “eeny, meeny, miney, moe,” with a slate of candidates that you have never heard of?

  3. I spent over 20 years in the military defending this country. I voted every time I could, but since I was away from my home State the majority of the time I relied on absentee ballots. I found out years later that due to mail delivery problems many of my votes over the years were not counted. I still work for the federal government and still find myself away from home quite often. This most recent election my spouse mailed me my ballot via overnite delivery, costing much more than the return stamp that some people complain about. I received it, voted, and it should be back in time to be counted. What keeps me from voting? Only the governments delivery system. No matter how small, how seemingly unimportant a ballot measure or race is, it is our right and duty as a citizen to make our vote heard and counted. When you lose that ability through either government action or voter inaction or apathy, then we begin to lose ourselves as Americans. For those who do not vote for whatever excuse, I have no sympathy when the results are not what was expected or wanted.

  4. What would keep you from voting in a junior taxing district race or any of the smaller, less publicized races such as sewer, water, fire districts, etc.?

    In my view, only my death would keep me from voting in those races.

    How do you learn about the issues and candidates in those races?

    I read printed media, listen to oral media and listen to my cohorts.

    Do you feel that those races (besides school boards) make much of an impact
    on people’s everyday lives?

    I feel those races do make important impacts on people’s everyday lives.

  5. For once in my life, I agree with Gordon. Did something just freeze over?

    I’ve been voting since 1968, and have only missed one vote (I was out of the country). The only case I can think of where I might not vote at all was if all the candidates were running unopposed.

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