We now find ourselves in yet another election cycle and I’m sure a lot of people don’t know or if they know they don’t care. The former may just be a matter of lack of knowledge or awareness and that I can forgive. The later is a choice and something I can neither tolerate nor forgive.

We now find ourselves in yet another election cycle and I’m sure a lot of people don’t know or if they know they don’t care.  The former may just be a matter of lack of knowledge or awareness and that I can forgive.  The later is a choice and something I can neither tolerate nor forgive.

 

Yep, here’s Kevin getting ready to get up on his soapbox so if you don’t want to read the lecture then stop reading.  Wake up folks.  Voting is a privilege that we have living in the United States and it didn’t come without a price – a pretty hefty one.  The privilege of voting, that so many take for granted, was purchased by the blood of millions of Americans.  And never forget that.

 

In just 3 weeks we will be going to the voting booth to cast our votes for those who will run in the general election hoping to be elected to serve us at the county, state and federal levels. In many instances they face no opposition in November so, in those instances, we are voting on who will serve us in elected offices.

 

Now, don’t rush over that last sentence and focus for a second on the word “us”.  “Us” is the voters and the people.  Those elected to serve have a solemn responsibility to serve “us” honorably in whatever office they are running for.  And it is our solemn responsibility to take our voting obligations serious.

 

Any off election year (when we are not voting on President) sees a fall off of voter participation.  In other words, the turnout sucks (to use a technical word).  Many times we are good if 10% of the registered voters take time to vote.  Like I mentioned earlier, some are merely unaware but far too many are complacent and apathetic.

 

Let’s put this into perspective.  In the 2014 election year (the last mid-term election cycle) one of the local state rep contests had 4,500 voters participate.  Don’t know what percentage that was but for sake of illustration let’s say that it was 15%.  I’m going to do some math here so I need easy numbers for my simple math mind.

 

In that election the state rep was unopposed so no reason to worry about the math.  But, in this year’s election cycle we have 3 different races (one for state representative and 2 for county offices) that have 3 people vying for your votes.  In the state rep race there will be opposition in November but for the county offices the primary is the deciding election as no one filed on the other side for November.

 

Using my complicated mathematical equation, in a 3 way race with only 1,501 votes someone can be elected to a county wide office.  That would mean 5% (plus one vote) of the registered voters decided for the other 95%.  Sounds pretty sad doesn’t it?

 

Of course, I don’t think it will necessarily work out with the exact numbers I used but you get the point.  A very, very small percentage of voters may very well determine who serves “us” for the next few years.  And guess what, if someone in one of those offices does something that someone doesn’t like then they will sure exercise their right to gripe and complain (even if they didn’t vote).

 

I wish it was a law or rule that you couldn’t complain unless you proved that you had voted.  Maybe that would motivate more people to vote and not let other people decide things for them.  Have we really gotten that lazy in this country or do we just not care?  It’s a little of both and it makes me sad and mad at the same time.

 

While I’m perched up here on my soapbox I’ll just say that I hate it when people paint all politicians with the same broad brush of disdain.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “all politicians are the same they are dishonest or corrupt or (just name some derogatory term you can think of)”.

 

Many times people run for office to get rid of the “politicians” in office not understanding that because they are running for office they are now “politicians”. And, maybe next election time, someone will run against them saying we need to get the “politicians” out of the office.

 

Here’s what you need to take away from all my ramblings.  First don’t be uninformed or apathetic.  Your privilege of voting didn’t come free so don’t act like it did.  And second, judge the person holding the office based on their character and actions and not because they are a “politician”. After all, before they ran for office they were your neighbor and friend and if elected they still are.

 

Tuesday, Aug. 7– voting day.  Don’t forget.

 

Kevin Wilson writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.