With 100% of precincts reporting in Douglas County, the results of CD-6 are clear - voters did not turn out! Douglas County is home to about 61,000 registered Republican voters - all of whom should have been well informed that August 12th was an election day (else we in the county party are not doing our job). Yet the results of Douglas County, shown on the County Clerk and Recorder's website, indicates that the actual voter turnout was closer to 25,000 Republicans. That is an embarrassing 40% voter turnout by Republicans in my county.
It would not be so embarrassing, considering that usual voter turnout county wide is no more than 22,000 (R and D), if voters better understood that in this area Republican Primary races are the general election. What is even worse is that 53,000 mail-in ballots were sent out, and total voter turnout in the county was under 35,000. Assuming all votes were mail-in, there is a 20,000 vote gap in Douglas County. I voted in a booth yesterday morning, so we can most likely assume that a majority of mail-in ballots (paid for by taxpayer dollars) ended up untouched on the kitchen counter, or worse, in the trash.
What is the source of complacency in American Voting? Now that Americans have the right to vote, why do 60-70% of us choose not to vote? Is there a sense of non-urgency that surrounds primary elections?
This also begs a few more questions:
1. Do we want everyone voting?
2. What is the deal with the Assembly Candidates?
To answer the first question, I simply state thusly: Ideals do not win elections, votes do. This means that he who gets the votes gets the victory. So it is up to the candidates to inspire voters to the polls - be it by leadership, vision, or even promises of handing out money from the treasury of private individuals and corporations (via windfall profit taxes). It is the responsibility of the voter to educate themselves, so they are making educated decisions at the voting booth (or on the absentee ballot). So though everyone should be voting, perhaps it is better that those uninformed are not taking part in these freedoms. However, this brings me back to the complacency argument - what drives 60-70% of the US to not care enough to arm themselves with education and use their knowledge to vote?
Secondly, I had discussed this in July - whether or not the Colorado Assembly process was worth the investment. In CD-6, two candidates petitioned onto the primary ballot, while three went through the assembly process (one did not make the 10% required to petition on to the Primary ballot from the Assembly). The two assembly candidates, Ted Harvey and Steve Ward, put in a large amount of effort with the delegates, whipping up a lot of support during the assembly time frame - but neither inspired beyond the assembly - leaving the CD6 seat, yet again, taken by a petition candidate (Tancredo was also a petition candidate). The county party invests a large amount of money into the assembly process to nominate a candidate that the party leadership (including delegates and district/precinct captains) should rally behind... however, there is a trend that the CD6 assembly is not in tune with the CD6 voters.
Should the county partys consider refusing to fund the assembly, in favor of an all petition primary for higher level offices? Absolutely - especially if this is a trend that is going to continue.
I digress. The point at hand is that the primary election has come and gone, our party nominees have been selected, and it is now our goal to turn out the Republican vote on November 4th... and turn out the Democratic vote on November 5th :)