Electing Officials By Default…..

Although I skirt politics in this blog, this subject is about Civics, not politics. In our local area we tend to have low voter turnout and that is not unusual throughout the country. We have a primary coming up later this month and one of the candidates for Judge has been getting around to a lot of events. Her point is, “Look, I want you to vote for me, but more than that, I want you to find out about the candidates and make a real choice. We need to stop electing officials by default.”

She is so correct about this. We do tend to take voting for granted in this country, and it is confusing. Who do you trust to tell you about the candidates? And why are there so many elected positions anyway? How are you supposed to figure it all out? It is easier to elect an incumbent, latch onto a “sound bite”, or to let a local paper/organization endorse a candidate than to actually do your own research about the candidates. This is one of the reasons that seemingly small groups of people can dominate an election. It is often a case of who actually goes out to vote. I have made a resolution this time to look beyond the “big” positions and to check out candidates for positions like judge and school board. Now, that may be nothing more than looking at their web site and then doing a quick search to see if they have made the newspapers (one way or the other), but I am going to do that. Thoughts, anyone?

2 thoughts on “Electing Officials By Default…..

  1. So many of my friends are from countries where it is legally mandated that one must vote (or else incur a fine), and I often wonder if that would help us make better decisions. But as you pointed out, if the group that isn’t currently voting only votes because they are required, the odds are not high that they will do the due diligence to figure out the best candidate for them.

    I have voted in every election for which I’ve been eligible. Unfortunately, too often it feel like I am voting against one candidate as opposed to voting for anyone. This year is definitely no exception in my local politics where the mayor’s race is between a man who claims credit for all the good things that have happened since his birth and a man who when confronted (even nicely) with where his facts have been misstated, clings to the errors liking a drowning man to a life raft. Yet still I vote.

    It is unfortunate that the level of funding required to launch a campaign, even a local one, has put it out of the reach of most people. Plus the unbelievable media scrutiny, not only of the candidate her/his self, but of the entire family, deters many other qualified individuals from running.

    Like you I firmly believe in the civic duty of helping to select those who govern us. I wish there were a way, however, to make the process easier.

    • You are so right about the cost of politics and how that has affected the ability of ordinary people to run. It’s one of the reasons people have turned from politics. After all, there are definitely times when it’s difficult to tell the difference between opponents. Here’s hoping that we can begin to find ways to positively engage in politcs again. The mandated voting is interesting in places where they have that requirement.

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