Where are all the voters?

Published 9:30 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maybe it was because no Republican candidates ran with opposition in this year’s primary election, only Democratic candidates.

Maybe it was because the incumbents for Mayor and North Ward Alderman — George Flaggs Jr. and Michael Mayfield — were particularly strong candidates. Each won his primary with relative ease.

It couldn’t have been the weather. Tuesday was just about a picture perfect spring day in Mississippi.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Whatever the reason, a turnout of only 3,091, or less than 25 percent of the city’s registered voters, in Tuesday’s municipal primary election was a sad showing.

Why don’t more citizens exercise their right to vote?

For those of us who take seriously our responsibility to participate in our democracy by voting in every election, the thought of not showing up at the polls is something unthinkable.

Why, then, do so many stay at home? Are we just lazy? Do we think our vote will make no difference?

Having a say in who represents us in government is worth the effort to get out and cast a ballot.

Do our votes really count? It counts perhaps more in a municipal election than others. How many times have we seen only a few votes separate candidates? In our last legislative election, one Mississippi representative was chosen by a coin toss.

Elections are expensive propositions. It’s expensive to produce ballots and man election precincts. It’s expensive to get those ballots back to be counted, and assure accuracy and integrity in the vote. Many people in our government work very hard to make certain our voting process is secure and every vote counts.

Until we find a secure way to cast ballots online — and many don’t think that will ever be something that is worthy of trust — we need to show up at the polls.

Our city’s leaders make decisions that directly influence our lives. Surely that’s worth the little time and effort it takes to vote. As the saying goes, if you don’t vote, please don’t complain.