Readers give opposing views on reasons for dismal voter turnout
by Don McKee
May 23, 2014 04:00 AM | 1485 views | 2 2 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Low voter turnout is interpreted in opposing ways by readers responding to this column’s view most registered voters in Cobb don’t care who represents them in local and state offices and in Congress. Exhibit A: only 17.45 percent of registered voters bothered to vote in Tuesday’s primaries.

“Your conclusion that voters don’t care who represents them is not correct,” wrote Tom Pletz. “We care, and we want to vote. But we aren’t allowed to vote for who we want. We are forced to choose a political party, and then are handed the ballot for candidates that belong to just that party, eliminating many other qualified candidates. So, if we can’t vote for who we want, we don’t vote at all. Also, most people are completely turned off by the huge amount of phone solicitations we receive daily, especially during the hours of 4-9 p.m. This time includes our dinner hour and family time for those with children. Of course, we don’t want to be bothered every few minutes answering the phone. This is such a turnoff that it causes anger to overrule the desire to vote. These are my feelings and directly contribute to why more than 85% of us aren’t there on election day!”

From a reader identified as “disgraceful turnout” comes this:

“It is obvious that we are doomed as a country. We are a nation grown too lazy to take care of ourselves, as long as the government will do it, and are even too disinterested to bother to vote once every few years. I was shocked and disappointed because I feel it is an indicator of what our future holds. We, until recently, were the greatest and strongest country in the world. Now, we appear to be populated by a bunch of lay-abouts who care more about handouts and whether pot is going to be legal, than their nation.”

Mr. Pletz, your complaints are understandable. But the way to fix the political system is to vote and get involved in trying to change it. No doubt, the constant barrage of robo-calls breeds resentment against candidates, generally and specifically. At our house, we got 15 robo-calls in 12 hours on Monday. But not voting because of the overload of telephone calls? Not an option.

Clearly, robo-calling has reached the point of diminishing returns or no returns. It annoys voters, creates resentment and has the reverse effect of what’s intended. My advice to candidates: drop the robo-calls and spend the money on ads in the MDJ and mailers. You’ll get a lot more bang for the buck.

As for the reader who thinks “we are doomed as a country,” that view may be a little too pessimistic. Lack of interest is a symptom. The causes are many, including the earlier primary date and a general political war-weariness from constant campaigning, lackluster candidates, too much same old-same old. Let a few charismatic candidates with real vision show up and watch the voters respond.
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Laura Armstrong
May 24, 2014
This year, I did not listen to ONE robo call. Not one. I've always read candidate's literature and in fact have written it, but it's all superficial these days and you learn nothing about a candidate. With the exception of Bill Byrne who ran full page ads in the MDJ outlining his concerns and accomplishments. He ran the campaign that others were afraid to run.

Ed Lindsey also ran a fine foot campaign, with door knockers who knew the issues and represented their candidate well. Too bad he didn't get an earlier start.
Honest Abe
May 24, 2014
Actually, only 20% turnout for the primary elections may be a good sign. Many people should not be allowed to vote anyway. Also, just maybe the people are beginning to realize the innate truth that government and passing laws is not a means to make everyone comfortable or a solution to all problems.
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