Blogs » Victoria County Election Administrator » Initial Report on Low Turnout

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My request several weeks ago asking why people didn't vote in the any of the eight elections held thus far in 2010 brought a few responses. There were comments posted online and there were a few e-mailed directly. Some were positive and some were negative, which is to be expected when the audience is diverse. There were a couple which I found interesting enough to share.

A lack of worthy candidates for public office is an interesting suggestion. It follows that their should be some criteria for a person to seek public office. In fact there are qualifications to hold public office and these differ with the various electable positions.

Most officials must be residents of the political subdivision. Some must actually own property in the district. Some must be qualified voters. Some officials must have a high school diploma or equivalency and others do not. A few positions require a law degree while most do not. There are requirements for most elected positions that the candidate have lived as a resident of the political subdivision for a specific period and been a resident of the state for at least a year.

So when the candidates meet these qualifications, who decides if they are to serve? The answer is it is the voters who decide. The simple test of getting more votes than your opponent is the only way to win an election. It is like any sport where to win you must score more points or run faster than they rest of the field.

Which brings us back to a low turnout election. Those individuals who participate in the election, even it is only a small percentage of the eligible voters, are determining the "worthiness" of the candidates. They made the effort to learn something of the people running for office and decided upon one.

Another "reason" for not voting was they didn't live in the city. That would be a valid excuse for the May election but both the March and April elections were actually state-wide. The race for governor during the primary for both parties was hotly contested. Yet less than a third participated.

The opportunities to cast your vote during an election are multiple. You may not vote more than once but we give you more than one chance to cast your ballot. Voting is still a responsibility of each citizen and democracy works better when its citizens take an active interest.