The Clerk’s Corner: Hoping for high voter turnout
Happy Fourth of July!
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, baseball games, family reunions and political speeches. We celebrate this day to remember our nation’s history and to honor our freedoms. Freedom and independence are synonymous with patriotism and democracy because voting is the way in which voters can freely express their personal opinions by helping to elect government leaders with whom they share similar views.
In the recent primary election, 1,763 ballots were cast in Moffat County. That is only a 27 percent voter turnout! Similarly, the State of Colorado averaged a 28 percent voter turnout. Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election. Take a look at these local voter registration statistics:
Moffat CountyMoffat County
Total registered voters — 9,578
Active voters — 6,720
Democrats — 818
Republicans — 3,906
Unaffiliated voters — 1,915
Other party — 81
There are certain elections that seem to excite and motivate voters to turn in their ballots, whereas other elections such as the most recent primary receive little attention and consequently there is a lower voter percentage. The political climate and world affairs typically drive voter participation.
For example, on July 5, 1971, the passage of the 26th Amendment changed the voting age to 18. This was largely due to the student activism movement protesting the Vietnam War. Similarly, younger adults and ethnic minorities showed increased voter participation in the 2008 presidential election. However, these same groups of individuals did not turn out to vote in the 2010 midterm elections. Fluctuation in election results is common and quite unpredictable.
Although our primary election was uneventful, I fully expect the November presidential election to surpass all of our past return percentages. The 2016 presidential election will surely be a motivating and passionate election, for both the Republican and Democratic candidates will be perceived by their respective supporters to be an instrument of necessary and vital change for our country’s future success. People will turn out to vote this fall because they truly believe a particular candidate will change the country’s direction for the better, or simply because they do not wish the candidate with whom they disagree to be elected!
The important thing to remember is democracy works best when a large number of people let their opinions be known. It was the very wise President Abraham Lincoln who once said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
Until next month, cheers!
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