Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Primary Observations

This was a primary election in an off-off year. There was nothing major at stake. We had maybe a 20% turnout of registered voters. What was interesting to me was the kind of people who showed up, the people who are most dedicated to participating in the election process. Most of the people who came were over 65. I would say 75% at least. It was disappointing that more people of working age didn't show. The thing is the people that win these local elections sometimes serve as the minor league players for the next level up, for state positions and then for national positions. So aside from the importance of participating in local politics, the local politicians are often the ones who end up being the national politicians years down the road.

The other thing that I think is depressing is letting the people who are 80 and 90 years old determine your future. Not that I'm knocking their right to participate, but my impression with many of them is that they are afraid of change and that they are voting mainly to keep the status quo (a huge generalization I realize, but somewhat accurate for my area I think).

Republicans outnumber Democrats in our district, but not by the huge margins that showed up to vote yesterday. Of the 211 voters, 155 were Republicans. That's about 75% Republican. I think it's really about 60% Republican, but so many Democrats didn't even bother to vote. Part of the reason for that is that nothing was contested on the Democratic ticket, but there was a bond issue to vote on that was a statewide issue. In my area, at least, it seems that Democrats are less likely to vote.

The whole thing was kind of depressing. It's like we (the Democrats) feel defeated. I fully admit that I rarely voted in local elections, both because I was too lazy, but also because I was never in one place for long enough to care. Now that I'm in a place where I think I'll stay, I plan to participate more and get my fellow Democrats out to vote.