Tuesday, February 19, 2008

35%

That's the projected turn out of eligible voters for today's primary election. Everyone's buzzing about it, ordering extra ballots and so forth. Generally, primaries only elicit votes from 22% of eligible voters. General elections top out at a whopping 42% coming out to vote in a good year.

What makes these numbers cause for bragging? Last I checked, 35% is a failing percentage. On any test a 35% is a failing grade. So is 42%. If people showed up for work 35% of the time, they'd be fired. If a person planned a wedding and only 35% of the guests could make the date, they'd reschedule. If 35% of children attended public schools, there'd be a general outcry of people wondering why 65% of the children are staying home or attending private schools. If 35% of American taxpayers filed their income tax forms, the government would be up in arms. If 35% was the survival rate for surgery, the government would strip medical licenses faster than you can say staphychonosis. (I made that last word up to sound all intelligent and medical. Yes, sometimes Green Girl is a total modern jackass.) Thirty-five percent isn't a huge amount.

It's about a third.

And when only about a third (and usually only about a fourth if you look at overall statistics of eligible voters participating in elections) show up at their polling places, doesn't anyone wonder why?

Do American citizens feel so disconnected from their government that they don't care? Feel their vote doesn't matter? Figure their vote is merely an exercise to make the populace feel good when the real decision about who gets into office is so removed from the polls? Do the choices appeal to American voters? Perhaps people aren't casting a vote because they don't like the options presented to them. Are American citizens just lazy and apathetic? Would people vote more if strings were attached? (No jury duty, a free pass on selective service, one parking ticket deleted from your record.) Is voting too much work for people? Too inconvenient? Too difficult?

Yet in the midst of all of this apathy, our legislators carry on like nothing is wrong and the media rejoices. For 35%.

Reader, what do you think?

***
In other news, we have school today. Yesterday's casualties involved one black eye and one dinged head. And yes, Blackbird, we did everything on that list. It was a long, loud and busy day!

4 comments:

  1. This is a statistic that pisses me off every single election. I'm going to stop myself from ranting. How hard is to fill out a ballot and mail it in?

    If you don't vote, don't bitch about anything that happens in your country.

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  2. I think it only goes to show what a great life American's have....apparently they have no real complaints or hardships...otherwise they would exercise their right to make a difference with their vote.

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  3. Bravo!

    er - not the voting thing, the staying busy thing...

    ReplyDelete

Spill it, reader.