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Low Voter Turnouts

November 21, 1988

Now that the election is over, it is time to evaluate several things: Why was the turnout so shockingly low? Why has our election process become such a "media event," devoid of substance? What changes are crying to be made?

I would suggest that the problem of low turnout starts with the primary process. By the time of the national conventions, the candidate has been selected and the real excitement is in the mystifying spectacle of vice presidential selection. Boredom and accompanying low turnout starts then.

A possible solution might be to limit the number of delegates selected through the primary process to less than the number needed for nomination. Then the convention would be a real process of selection.

As to the "media event" problem, any attempt to legally censor the press would be wrong. The long-term effect of such action could be horrifying. The public could reclaim its own opinions, however, if we started another kind of "just say no" campaign. Just say "no" when asked to reveal how we plan to vote. A secret ballot is precious and must be preserved. Just say "no," to each offensive advertisement, verbally and often! We can speak loudly and clearly about our objections to campaign appeal content by our refusal to contribute to such requests. Good content can be rewarded, on the other hand, by our enthusiastic support.

Finally, as a precinct inspector, I have found that the one day, plus one hour of training helped to solidify my commitment to our democratic process.

I would submit that interest is born of involvement and I would encourage people to consider precinct work, volunteer efforts for candidates, and taking every opportunity to voice our opinions in the numerous forums available to us.

We are so blessed in this country. We must not lose all we treasure by default.



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