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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

Most will not vote in election Tuesday

Sunday, August 4, 2002

You probably won't vote Tuesday. Oh sure, you'll mean to vote and you'll have the best of intentions to vote. But you probably won't.

County election officials tell us that almost 8 out of every 10 eligible voters won't go to the polls on Tuesday. Sad to say, that's not abnormal. So judging from that, a strong majority of the readers of this column won't vote Tuesday.

Now let me clarify that somewhat. Statistics tell us that newspaper readers are much more prone to vote than the general population so perhaps you do intend to vote. Yet reality tells me that despite your intentions, come election day you may well "forget" to vote for whatever reason. It will indeed be your loss.

I will readily admit that there are only limited contested races in area counties and only two statewide ballot issues. But it's not the quantity of the election measures - it's the opportunity to vote that is so precious in our democracy.

A heated race for Scott county Prosecuting Attorney has generated quite a bit of conversation as well it should. With no incumbent in this race it offers county residents an opportunity for fresh change and new approaches. And yet our county election officer says that just 20 per cent of voters will decide this critical race.

Tired of taxes? Tired of potholes? You have your choice on Tuesday. Proposition B will raise your sales taxes and your price of gasoline. In return the state has promised to fix the roadways of Missouri with your tax dollars. So don't complain either way unless you vote on Tuesday.

The other statewide ballot, Proposition A, will charge you 50 cents a month on your cellular phone bill to provide improved 911 service.

I'll be the first to admit that even with these local races and statewide measures, this primary election will certainly not generate a great deal of turnout. There are no statewide candidate races as in many past years and that will sorely impact the turnout. The two statewide measures are interesting and important but again, not necessarily blockbusters that will drive people to the polls.

I am always puzzled on why people choose not to vote. We often squander this special privilege of voting without a second thought. We say we really don't care who wins this race or that and, as a result, we are absent on election day. The end result of this apathy is that a small percentage of the population actually decides these races and issues. That's not the way it should be.

If you're tired of politics as usual then do something about it. If you're tired of Jefferson City dictating to you, vote and do something about it. And all of the complaining you do about crime and roads and everything else can be changed with the simple mark on a ballot. But that takes a commitment and too many among us are unwilling to make that small sacrifice.

I'll proudly vote on election day though I recognize that my vote is just one of many. I'll vote for the same simple reason you should - I can.

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