Our view: Election participation vital
November 12, 2008
Thank you, Moffat County voters, for participating in the 2008 general election in record numbers.
Almost 4,000 voters, or more than half of the county’s active voter roll, participated in mail-in or early voting this year.
Overall, turnout for the 2008 general election topped that of the previous two elections. And that’s not counting an estimated 75 provisional ballots not yet counted Nov. 5.
According to unofficial election results, which do not include provisional ballots, 5,857, or almost 69 percent of the county’s 8,512 registered voters participated in the election.
We have our own theories about why more people turned out for this election.
Some issues or candidates on the ballot may have been perceived as a threat to many voters, which caused them to head to the polls.
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And, in contrast to past elections, two very different presidential candidates were on the ballot this year, which may have whittled down the usual number of undecided voters.
Finally, at the risk of repeating a mantra touted throughout the campaign season, this year’s election held the promise of change, regardless of who was elected president or which amendments and referendums passed.
No matter the cause, voter turnout numbers remain unofficial until a canvass, scheduled for today, verifies them.
Still, even the unofficial counts impressed editorial board members.
Well, most of us, anyway.
There were a few of us who thought this year’s turnout could have been better, especially when considering the track records of other countries.
In 2005, for example, at least 72 percent of Iraqi voters turned out in the country’s first free election in 50 years.
And, in Australia, about 95 percent of enrolled voters participated in the 2007 federal election.
Granted, voting is mandatory in Australia. And, when considering if voting should be made mandatory in the United States, we all agreed on an answer: Absolutely not.
Voting is certainly a responsibility, but it’s also a choice. Voters have the right to cast their ballots and have a say in their government’s direction, at local and national levels.
They also have a choice not to.
This editorial board is proud of everyone who voted this year.
However, for Moffat County voters who didn’t cast a ballot this year, we have one question.
Was there something that prevented you from voting using mail-in ballots, or participating during early voting or on Election Day? Could you not decide for whom to vote?
Did you think your vote wouldn’t count?
Whatever the case, we’d like to hear your side. Feel free to write a letter to the editor. All letters must be signed and include a daytime phone number for verification. They may be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Editor at P.O. Box 5, Craig, CO 81626. Letters may also be dropped off in person at the Craig Daily Press office, 466 Yampa Ave. Who voted this year and who didn’t, though, isn’t our main focus. Instead, we encourage every citizen to vote during future elections, whether they are local or national.
After all, percentages aren’t what matter most.
An active, involved citizenry is extremely important to our democracy. Participation makes all the difference.