Craig Editorial Board, Jan. 14, 2009, to April 2009
- Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
- Joshua Roberts, newspaper representative
- Collin Smith, newspaper representative
- Marianna Raftopoulos, community representative
- Luke Schafer, community representative
- John Smith, community representative
- Lois Wymore, community representative
The numbers don't lie.
And, when it comes to Craig city elections in April, the numbers say voter turnout is embarrassingly low. Low enough, in fact, that the Editorial Board believes city officials should consider amending the city's charter and rescheduling elections for November.
According to voting records, there hasn't been more than 700 votes cast in any city election since at least 2001.
Voter turnout in those elections is listed below:
• 2001: 370 voters out of 5,293 registered voters, 6.9 percent.
• 2003: 526 voters out of 5,399 registered voters, 9.7 percent.
• 2005: 549 voters out of 5,334 registered voters, 10.2 percent.
• 2007: 671 voters out of 5,134 registered voters, 13 percent.
By comparison, Moffat County elections, which take place in November along with state and national ballot questions and candidates, have had much better voter participation.
In 2001, 1,683 voters out of 8,884 registered voters cast a ballot. A year later, in 2002, those numbers swelled to 4,629 voters out of 9,243. Last year - although the numbers perhaps were a bit inflated by the presidential race - the county registered, 5,912 votes out of 8,331 voters, or a 70-percent voter turnout.
The Editorial Board believes City Council positions are too important to the local community to be left to the decisions of only a small percentage of mindful, responsible voters.
True, it is not the city's fault that enough voters don't come out in April. But that there is such a large portion of apathetic voters is a topic for another time.
The city may not be responsible for low turnout, but it can do the responsible thing and do something to help change it.
The Editorial Board contends that tacking a city election onto a November ballot would be beneficial to the public and to the city.
Having all election matters on one date gets candidate and ballot issue studying out of the way for the year for voters, would be more convenient and involve a greater number of people in the process of choosing new public servants and deciding public matters.
If nothing else, as the voter turnout numbers indicate, there isn't much for the city to lose by experimenting with a November ballot.
It's too late to do anything about the April 7 election, which now is less than two weeks away. It's not too late for the next election, however, and a ballot change is at least worth considering.
Of course, city voters could make this question meaningless by simply doing what they are asked and showing up April 7 to participate in an important process.