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“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” – A quote by George Jean Nathan, American journalist.
I recently read that only 30 percent of Americans consider themselves habitual voters – meaning that whether it is a presidential race, local election or a single issue on the ballot, these citizens are going to exercise their right to vote. The rest of the population are equally divided into two categories: periodic voters and the unregistered.
Unfortunately, these statistics are not what I would consider surprising.
I would venture to say that the periodic voters and the unregistered could be instead divided into the two categories: “I don’t care” and “I don’t think my vote matters.”
As for the first group, it is probably better that they do not vote. If a taxpaying citizen could care less who is in office, then they are likely to be uninformed, if not clueless about their community, state and country. They don’t read the newspaper. They don’t watch TV news. And if the “I don’t care” group does scratch below the surface of an issue, they will be the first ones swayed by emotion instead of the facts.
If there would be any segment of the population I hope to reach today, it would be those who believe their vote does not count. No statement could be further from the truth – especially in an election as critical as Spencer County’s primary election.
Our county is looking at an unprecedented five challengers going against a three-term judge executive. We are guaranteed also to have three fresh faces on fiscal court – each representing one of the five magisterial districts. And I’m not even going to get into the vast number of people vying for a place on November’s ballot in the offices of jailer and constable.
When the ballots are counted in the courthouse on the night of May 18, winners and losers will likely be separated by a handful of votes. Your vote could be the one that determines the future of our county. Let me rephrase that. You, and your spouse, and your neighbor and your child’s teacher will be the ones making the decision – whether that is good or bad, from the couch or the precinct.
It is important to remember that each of these candidates is so much more than a colorful sign in your neighbor’s yard. Some have great ideas. Some of the ideas are not so great. But how would you ever know if you read only their campaign literature or relied on the opinions of others. As good citizens, we must take the responsibility to educate ourselves about the candidates – and the best way to accomplish that is by hearing it first-hand.
I urge each registered voter to attend Friday’s 2010 Primary Election Forum. The event will begin promptly at 6 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Spencer County High School is located at the corner of KY 55 and KY 44 East in Taylorsville.