I suspect one reason we have elections with low turnouts is that potential voters don’t like the choices on the ballot. A candidate may not be everything a voter is looking for in a public official. He or she may express one idea to which the voter agrees and yet think differently from the voter on other issues. This creates a choice for the citizen. Do I support the candidate, taking the good with the bad, or do I not vote?
Too often it seems people take the second option and not vote. This creates a problem in the democratic process. When too many people sit at home during an election the people elected have little public support. Even a 15% turnout for an election means the winning candidate may have less than one in ten people who voted for them. Said another way, ninety percent of the populace either voted for the opponent or didn’t vote at all. Sadly most of these didn’t vote at all. This produces an unusual problem for those in authority. If only one in ten supported their election, how can a public official make decisions that represent the majority?
In this scenario the numbers are over whelming. There will always be too many people who didn’t vote. Their not voting intimates that they don’t care. But we all know that is not case. Otherwise ninety percent of the people would be satisfied with the decisions made by public officials and we know this is not the case.
Every public official, and I include myself in this, must perform the duties of their position to the best of their abilities within the law. This is the main tenant of the oath of office, to “faithfully execute the duties of the office… of the State of
Voters need to realize anyone who runs for public office is just like them, a member of the community. They are not perfect people and can make mistakes or have shortcomings like the rest of us. You may expect more of your elected officials but you have to remember they are people too. This means they need your support by your vote during the election process. They also need continual evaluation of their job performance with regular reporting.
The regular reporting part is the hard part. It means each of you, as a member of the community, must contact your elected officials. You must tell them how they are doing and whether they must continue or change their direction.
The easy part should be voting. It requires your participation only once per term of office. We don’t have that many elections that you have to miss any elections so let’s all first try the easy step of voting. Then we can get on to the harder part of evaluation and reporting on a regular basis.
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