Early indications are pointing to even weaker-than-usual voter interest in Wood County. With the May 13 primary fast-approaching, requests for absentee ballots are down by a disturbing margin. County Clerk Mark Rhodes said his office has handled only about 10 percent of the requests it would normally have seen by this stage in the election season.
“If absentee ballot requests are any indication, we aren’t expecting a big turnout,” he said.
Imagine if that proportion holds true through the election. Imagine if only one-tenth of the already too-small percentage of the population who normally votes submits a ballot in May. There are more than 54,000 registered voters in Wood County. In 2012, more than 62 percent of those voters turned out. That would be about 33,500 people. But 10 percent of that figure is 3,350. Wood County’s population is approximately 86,700 people. So, in what is probably an unlikely, worst-case scenario, 4 percent of the population is making the decisions for an entire county. That cannot happen.
Voting is a privilege and a responsibility. There was a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on campaign finance limits. Talking heads tried to convince us the decision will kill democracy, and that anyone with money that could be used to contribute to candidates and party committees is an enemy. (Though, curiously, those talking heads seem to think only Republicans with money are the enemy. Democrats with money, like the Soros clan, apparently are heroes.)
Donors will not kill democracy, but voter apathy might. If you do not believe the heavily financed candidate will represent your best interests, go to the polls and vote against him or her.
Voter registration for the primary ends April 22. Early voting begins April 30 and ends May 10. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot is 4:30 p.m. May 8.
Register to vote, and then go do so. The democratic process is still in your hands, if you want to keep it.