Shame on us

Published 12:40 am Sunday, October 30, 2011

Registered voters in the city of Washington posted a scant 24-percent turnout in the 2009 municipal election.

Elections officials said this roughly quarter-of-the-vote percentage was about average for a local municipal election.

In 2009, the Washington mayor’s slot was contested, which appeared to drive up voter interest and participation.

This year, Mayor Archie Jennings is unopposed in his re-election bid, so the number of voters marking ballots on Nov. 8 is likely to be lower than in 2009.

That, in a word, is pathetic.

And, if we’re perpetuating a cliché by urging eligible voters to flock to the polls next month, we’re willing to take that chance.

It’s not overstating the case to say that by failing to register and vote, eligible participants in our elections are, in essence, forfeiting rights bought and paid for by defenders of this country.

And it’s not gilding the lily to note the easiest and most effective way to influence the course of our nation — from the city level up — is by stepping into the voting booth and marking a ballot according to one’s conscience.

Still, we wonder what would motivate some people to vote.

Perhaps nothing short of the loss of that right would stir those who refuse to be moved by one of their most precious duties of United States citizens: the near obligation to take part in our electoral process.