Elections are coming up. Local, state and national. Which elections affect you the most? Local of course! Those City and County buffoo… officials affect your day to day life directly. Your State Legislature also has a direct impact on your life.
The Federal Congressional gang does impact us, but indirectly, by coming up with Federal domestic (national) laws, policies and regulations. Then there’s the President of the United States. He can plead with the Congress, and then sign into law, or reject by veto, anything Congress sends his way. Meaning his impact is as indirect as the Congress. The President’s true authority is in Foreign Affairs, not in Domestic Policy.
So why do so many people in the U.S. vote during presidential elections, and so few vote during non-presidential elections? Here’s some statistics from the most recent General Elections: 2008 presidential elections saw 56.8% voter turnout, compared to 2006 non-presidential elections of only 37.1% (www.infoplease.com). In fact, since 1970 voter turnout for non-presidential elections has remained stuck in the upper 30% range.
Those stats are the average for the whole country. How about locally? Here in Bannock County, Idaho, in the May 2010 Primary Elections only 22.97% of registered voters voted (www.co.bannock.id.us). Hopefully many more people will vote in the up coming General Elections.
I hope it’s more than the 2006 non-presidential General Elections. In that year the state wide voter turnout in Idaho was in the 40% range (elections.gmu.edu). You might think that’s not bad, but compare that to the 50-60% range for the 2008 presidential elections (elections.gmu.edu). I’d like to see 60% turnout in general non-presidential, local elections.
Stop putting your hope into the Congress and the President of the United States! Send a big message to Washington D.C. by putting your voting power where it will have direct impact on your home state and your hometown. Lets see huge turnouts for local elections!