The sounds you’ll likely hear early next week will be the rustle of indifference, the blare of apathy and the din of political ignorance. It could be deafening. Consider yourself warned.
Besides July heat, Tuesday will bring the Republican Party runoff in Calhoun County. We assume you already knew that — unless you’re a Democrat or wholly disinterested in politics — but there’s no guarantee. Off-year elections aren’t popular among voters, and off-year runoff elections are the political equivalent of regularly changing your online passwords.
Important, yet largely ignored.
Already, alarm bells are ringing in Montgomery. John Merrill, Alabama’s secretary of state, told The Star that he expects a not-so-vigorous statewide turnout of 15 percent to 18 percent. He’ll be fortunate to get that. Up here, Carol Lorenzo, a member of the Calhoun County Board of Registrars, was succinct. “I really think it’s going to be really low,” she said.
Bank on disinterest, in other words. But why?
The reasons are as varied as voters themselves. Back in 2014, national turnout for that November’s midterm election reached its lowest point since 1942 — 36.4 percent. Meanwhile, a Census report from 2013, the left-leaning political website ThinkProgress has written, showed that “14 percent of nonvoting respondents were unable to participate because of an illness or disability, 8.6 percent were out of town, 12.7 percent did not like the candidates or campaign issues and almost 19 percent were too busy … Others may not feel engaged in politics or informed enough to vote, while 5.85 million U.S. citizens are prohibited from voting due to a felony conviction on their records.”
Some people just don’t want to vote.
And, yes, Tuesday’s ballot isn’t Calhoun County’s sexiest. There’s no runoff for the governor’s race. There’s no legislative runoff. There are a few state office runoffs — agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor — a couple of judicial races and then the ballot’s meat: county commission duels between Tim Hodges and Danny Shears (District 2) and J.D. Hess and Terry Howell (District 4).
For reasons ranging from patriotism to a dedication to American democracy, we’re firm believers that open polls need willing voters. If you’re eligible, go vote. But our strongest urging goes to those in the county’s second and fourth commission districts. Tuesday matters. Find a way to get to your polling place.