Informed voting is vital in a healthy democracy
August 25, 2010
By Editorial Board
NEW — 6:00 a.m. Aug. 25, 2010
The Aug. 17 primary election results brought good news and bad news. We are not talking about who won or lost, though. We are talking about the voter turnout.
We have all heard innumerable times how important it is to vote. It is absolutely necessary that voters participate in a democracy.
But don’t vote just to vote. An uninformed vote is a disservice to democracy.
Get informed, understand the issues and then vote. Look past the labels and the rhetoric.
Participation in the Aug. 17 primary held steady from recent primary elections, according to early results. About 30 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the Snoqualmie Valley. That is only slightly below how many cast votes in the 2008 primary election, which included presidential and gubernatorial races. It is in line with the last mid-term election in 2006.
Turnout often drops in mid-term elections, so it was encouraging to see people still engaged.
Still, the vast majority of registered voters didn’t send in their ballots. Hundreds of eligible voters are not even registered. If you fall into one of these two categories: Your voice is not being heard.
All of us have too many things to do in our busy days. Time is short and our to-do lists are longer. But elections must be priorities in a functioning democracy.
Don’t think elections matter? Guess again. Traffic lights, curbs, community programming, road construction, public transit, water quality, mortgage rates, the stability and health of financial markets, war — they are all affected by elections.
Don’t think your vote will matter? It does. Even if you cast a vote for a losing candidate, it tells politicians how their constituents feel. In some cases, it can change an election. The candidates advancing to the general election no doubt will pore through the primary election results in an effort to glean insight into how voters feel.
Voters have the ultimate power. Many days — maybe most days — it doesn’t feel like that, but it is the truth.
So get informed, get a pen and fill out your ballot.