Friday, July 02, 2010
Ensure That So Few Don’t Decide for So Many
Our local election season is unfolding early this year. For the first time in Minnesota, the primary election day will be moved forward to Tuesday, August 10, 2010. This change, from what would have been September 14 to August 10, may have a profound impact on the election results.
Parents with grade school and high school age children may still be enjoying summer vacations in August. Many of our beloved community's twenty-plus thousand college students most likely will not have arrived on campus by August 10 for the September start of the college year. When August 10th arrives, many of our community members may not even realize the primary ballot day is no longer in September.
It is easy to image how our historically low primary election turnout, of approximately 25 % of registered voters, will drop to a frighteningly low percentage. Local elected officials are predicting a voter turnout of 15% for the August 10 primary. Minnesota Secretary of State Officials are predicting an alarmingly low voter turnout of 10%.
With such a low number of voters taking part in the primary, those who show up and vote will have a powerful impact on which candidates survive the primary election. If we don't vote in this election, the candidate of our choice may not be on the general election ballot come November 2, 2010. They may have been eliminated by the 10 percent of us who voted in the primary.
You can either take comfort in knowing, or be alarmed when considering, that local special interest groups have their eyes on the prize - the August 10 primary election. The political machinery will be prepared for and participate in the primary election. Will you?
Only eighty individuals gathered in the Arrowhead Place Building in Downtown Duluth last week to determine which candidates were endorsed by the local Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL). I applaud those who attended. They are keeping their eyes on the prize. For those of us who did not make this DFL endorsement event or the other political party endorsement events, our chance to have our presence felt is the August 10 primary election.
Never before will so few decide for so many - unless we engage in the political process. Vote on August 10. Vote by absentee ballot, prior to August 10, if you know you will not be able to vote in your precinct on primary election day.
Our beloved Emerald City on the Hill is a remarkably compelling community. Our elected officials should be equally remarkable and compelling. Let's vote to ensure it is so.
posted by David Ross