Moultrie Observer

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January 14, 2013

8 percent turnout: Does automatic pilot really work?

MOULTRIE — A few days ago we had a special election to fill a vacancy in the State Senate. The vote tally requires a runoff between the top two candidates.

What was significant about this election is that in Colquitt County we only had an 8 percent turnout of registered voters.

It’s really amazing that in a country where we constantly tout the attributes of our democratic republic we sometimes illustrate that we take it for granted.

Only 8 percent?

Now given, that’s probably average for this type of an election. But should it be acceptable to us?

Does that low response say we don’t really care who gets that post? Does it say that this post is not really important? Does it say that we only care about elections where several offices are up for grabs? Does it say we’re just lazy?

We often hear groans and moans about campaigns that seem to run forever, and we get tired of them. Well, here was one pronounced and conducted in short order by most comparisons. So much for our dread of long drawn-out campaigns.

And we hear moans and groans about mean-spirited campaigns that tend to turn us off. This one was no such thing, so apparently that concern can be doused as well.

Maybe we just feel like that enough good candidates were running that any one of them could get the job done, so it really didn’t matter. And perhaps they were all that qualified, but does that excuse registered voters from being part of a process that is so often uplifted as the world model and its validity sanctioned by blood letting on foreign fields?

Well, maybe our form of democracy works best on automatic pilot. If we’re actually embracing such logic, let’s just hope those cables that turn the rudders don’t rust on us from lack of oiling and usage.

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