Less than a third of Ellis County registered voters cast ballots in the March 1 primary elections. Let’s be specific: 32.46 percent of the 96,117 residents who took the time to register to vote actually voted. That number does not reflect those who are eligible to vote, but never bothered registering. Keep in mind; this election decided party nominees for county, state and federal offices — including the U.S. presidency.
Yet in a county of more than 156,000 residents, we find it shocking that vital decisions on selecting our government officials were made by 31,201 people — or to be concise, 32.46 percent of those who took the time to register to vote.
On a daily basis, this page is filled with columns and letters critical of our elected officials, as well as our government itself. Many ask the question, “What’s wrong with our country?”
The answer is 32.46.
Without question, our country, our state and our local governments are facing a number of complex, difficult issues in a rapidly changing world. Sometimes our elected representatives get it right. Sometimes the result of their actions falls well short of expectations. Sometimes their efforts are based on doing what is best for all. Sometimes it seems their efforts are based more on political gain than actually working towards the greater good of those they serve.
It can be frustrating.
It can be aggravating.
It can, and often does, leave us voters feeling like nothing we do matters because each election cycle leaves us with more of the same — if not worse.
And yet we have the audacity to question why the greatest country in the world seems to be mired in the muck.
When less than a third of those who registered to vote make the decisions impacting 100 percent of the residents, that is our problem.
Do not think for a second this information is unknown to politicians and special interest PACS. They know all they need to win any election is to garner 50 percent of one-third of the electorate. That is an extremely small base — a very narrow demographic to appease and make happy.
What is wrong with our democratic system of electing our representatives?
It is all about numbers. Our number is 32.46.
If we, the people, truly wanted to change politics in America, we have the ability to accomplish that goal in a single election — if everyone who could vote actually took the time to learn, engage and VOTE. Ironically, the ability to elect those who represent us is the core principle on which our nation was founded.