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November 19, 2017

Editorial: Election Day places last to other activities in Marshall


By Jonathan McCarty, Contributor
Email feedback to editor@pineywoods.news or comment below.
This past Saturday was Election Day here in Marshall, just as it was several other places. It was also the local Cinco de Mayo celebration, a carnival, and the barrel racing championships at the Josey Ranch.
All of that considered, this was the lowest voter turnout in a local election that I can remember within my lifetime. There were only about 1,160 votes cast just in the city elections alone. That is in the two weeks of early voting and election day combined.
Now, please understand that I am not mentioning this because I am upset that I lost my race. I am upset that there were not more votes cast. I say that because the local elections impact every day citizens more than anything else, including the presidential race.
But, we historically have a higher turnout for that election than local ones. That is because of, simply, voter apathy. I wish that there were a nice way to put it, but that’s what it is.
And, I know that it isn’t for a lack of concern over issues. During my campaign, I spoke to a lot of people. I answered a lot of phone calls, returned a lot of emails and texts, and shook a lot of hands. Issues in the city such as the condition of our streets, the animal shelter, and a lack of things to do for young people were the most common things mentioned to me. And, I know for a fact that they were among the most common for all of the other candidates, because I asked them.
Mr. Larry Hurta, the new commissioner for district 6, told me that he had about 5,000 registered voters in in his district. Do you know how many turned out to actually vote? 527. The same figures are applicable to district 7, where myself and Doug Lewis were candidates. He and I only received 416 votes total.
And that is where the apathy comes in. For whatever reason, more people simply did not go to the polls. Some people may have been busy with children, or out of town, or just did not feel concerned enough to go vote. And, as much as I would like to say that is okay, it isn’t.
Lack of voter response means that a few people are the ones making all of the decisions. Not just the ones who hold those elected offices, but those who got out to actually vote.
This comparison has been made before, but we live in a society where more people would rather vote for a performer on “American Idol” or ‘Dancing with the Stars’ than they would someone who was running for office.
This is important, because those who voted regardless of who they supported, are now the backers of whomever is sitting in their elected position. Those voter numbers are important, because those are people who chose to speak up. Every action of our new commissioners are responsible for those people.
And, they are also responsible for those who did not vote. Which is why going to cast your ballot is so important. A decision that affects you could, and most likely will. be made without you if you do not

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One Response “Editorial: Election Day places last to other activities in Marshall”

  1. Jenny
    May 9, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Sadly, local elections have a low turnout. To be fair, many times people may not “know” who’s running. For example, I live in district 7 and only one candidate came by to introduce himself and chat. When I lived in another district in Marshall, in only one city race did a candidate come by and introduce himself and talk about issues. Both times, that candidate got my vote because he seemed interested in earning it. Maybe the next election cycle will have more participation, both by those running and those voting.

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