June 5, 2012 — Sadly, mid-term elections as the one held today in Lassen County historically feature a lower voter turnout than the presidential elections.
That lack of participation is sad news for our republican process.
Rather than allowing the people to make decisions through a strict but cumbersome democracy where everyone votes on everything, our Founding Fathers formed a republic in which the people elect representatives to serve them, make decisions and cast votes in their behalf.
Candidates vie for positions, and the candidate receiving the most votes wins the election. In most races in today’s election, the top two vote getters will square off against each other in November unless one of them wins 50 percent of the vote plus one additional vote.
Consider for a moment that in rural Lassen County, a member of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors can be elected with something like only 1,000 votes.
In the June 2010 election, a presidential primary, incumbent Lloyd Keefer and challenger Larry Wosick squared off for the District 3 seat.
Wosick garnered 1,086 votes (59.60 percent) and Keefer collected 735 votes (40.34 percent). District 5 Supervisor Jack Hanson ran unopposed and garnered 889 votes (95.39 percent) against 43 write-in votes (4.61 percent).
Over the Memorial Day weekend, one insider said he thought the hotly contested Lassen County Superior Court judge’s race would bring a lot of voters to the polls, but that prediction has not come true.
As of Friday, May 25, he said only about 21 percent of the county’s vote-by-mail ballots had been received by the county clerk’s office. More than 70 percent of the county’s voters use vote-by-mail ballots.
When hundreds or thousands of local voters don’t vote, the true will of the people falls into jeopardy, especially in a rural county such as ours where a relatively small number of votes can determine who will be elected.
If enough voters fail to exercise their franchise, a candidate who lacks popular support by a majority of voters could easily win the election.
We encourage you to take your vote-by-mail ballot to a polling place or the county clerk’s office by 8 p.m. today (it’s too late to drop them in the mail) or go to your polling place and vote in person.
Regardless of whom you support in a number of local, regional and national races, it’s your individual participation that makes our great system work.
Let your voice be heard. Do your part. Vote.
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