Yes, it was a nail-biter, but election was far from being popular



August 16, 2018 - 10:50 AM

With last week’s nail-biter primary election finally decided, it’s time to take a break from politics.
Yes, there are some wounds to lick, but the best salve is to realize the world doesn’t stop just because your preferred candidate didn’t win.
But who are we kidding?
By all appearances, last week’s elections wasn’t on most people’s radars. Statewide, about 27 percent of registered voters participated. Allen County saw a 25 percent voter turnout.
One can infer from the lack of participation that large majorities of Kansans don’t think local and state governments are important to their lives, or perhaps understand their purpose.
The disconnect is terrifying.
All of us are impacted by decisions made by higher-ups, from taxes on every purchase we make as well as on our property and income, to services and programs that educate our children, take care of our ill and elderly and keep us safe.
Not a day goes by that our lives are not somehow impacted, for good or ill, by decisions made by elected officials at the local or state level.
And yet we act as if such things are beyond our control.

SO HOW, then, do we get more people engaged?
One way is to make voting easier. In many democracies, Election Day is a national holiday, where people have the day off to make it easier to get to the polls. While most U.S. manufacturers and industries would be loathe to support a “Democracy Day,” as suggested by Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders, organizers with are hoping most would agree to allow a two-hour window of paid time off specifically for the purpose of casting one’s vote.
About 56 percent of registered voters participated in the 2016 general election. Most democracies witness turnouts half again as much by putting Election Day on a Saturday or Sunday.
Almost all of Europe sees a voter turnout of 70 percent or higher.
As adults, most of us could use a refresher course in the importance of government and the balance of power between its three branches.
So instead of throwing in the towel on democracy, recommit to getting involved. It’s to your advantage.
— Susan Lynn

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