Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Primaries.

I voted. I think it's a very important thing to do- even more so because I am part or a voting block that is more of a non-voting block. At the same time, I had a hard time motivating anyone else to vote yesterday in our state's primary and I'm trying to figure out why.

First off, many people I talked to (outside of my political science classes) really had no idea it was voting day, much less what a primary was. But don't jump to criticize who my friends are before you examine this primary more in depth.

To try and support the idea of primaries, I threw out things like: "It gets at pickin the best canidate that will run in November... for certain offices like Governor and District Attorney." Another thing was that most of the people who I was encouraging to vote were in the very building that the could a) register them to vote on that day and b) vote in less than 15 minutes. Needless to say, it was still a hard sell.

But even informed citizens don't necessarily like primaries. Generally, anyone who is middle of the line, moderate, unsure, not that enthused, or really anything but a dedicated and informed voting citizen tends to not show up to the primaries like voters on the further ends of the spectrum. This leads to "moderate casualties" in some cases (1).

There are issues outside of voter ignorance that deters primary voters as well. Voting for a party could also add to the deterance.

I understand that parties as a whole don't like the idea of going head to head with two members of the same party, but I think it's important to look at how canidates could or should be picked if primaries were none. It seems there would be quite a lot of under-the-table canidates on the ballots. Maybe that is already a problem, but there would be individuals given no chance from the get-go.

Is a primary vote too much for the American public to handle? If so, is the lack of interest or desire to vote in the primaries enough to reform the voting system? To me, it's shameful that the numbers are so low that reform of the system is really a formidable option. But I guess the low voting percentages are a reality that the United States system has to face. I think US citizens should not focus on what their bumper magnet says as much as their country's voter turnout.

1. http://newshound.de.siu.edu/online/stories/storyReader$2625

3 Comments:

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

Dana,
I found your post to be very interesting. It is a shame that citizens are so uniformed about elections, and the government in general.

I found a news article about the city of Milwaukee and the recent primary election. The article talks about how a recount was being held in Milwaukee because the number of ballots reportedly cast may be incorrect.
According to the article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, it was reported that 80,000 ballots were cast in the primaries. That is a very low number considering the population of the city of Milwaukee is around 600,000. That's roughly 13% of the city of Milwaukee who turned out to vote!

What's worse is that the city believes that some wards reported duplicate numbers because of wards sharing a polling station. The number of actual votes cast could potentially drop to around 45,000 actual ballots cast. If those numbers are correct, that means that only 7.5% of the city voted.

Those numbers only ask your question again. Are primaries too much for Americans to do? I guess the only way to look for an answer is to ask how could the system be changed to make it better for voters?

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

The article I mentioned can be found at http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=497946.

 

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