Think About It: The Depth Of Local Voter Apathy - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

November 10, 2014

Think About It: The Depth Of Local Voter Apathy

You know those numbers that everyone was throwing around last week after the election?  Not the ones about who won or who lost or by how much, but the numbers about our apathetic populace and the fact that just 52% of eligible voters bothered to take the time to support democracy by voting?

Well guess what? The numbers are actually far worse when you take into account the actual population of persons 18+ here who are eligible to vote in the first place. Yes, 52% of people who registered to vote actually voted last Tuesday, which means over 340,000 people who signed up to vote didn't even bother. But it is estimated that there are perhaps another 200,000 people here who can legally cast a ballot, and yet those people didn't even bother to sign up to vote. So the real number of people who decided who should lead us for the next 2-4 years is actually just 40% of eligible citizens ages 18+. 

It's a sad situation when 60% of adults here simply don't care enough to vote by mail or in person. A democracy is based on people representing people, and while many might fairly lament the lack of quality options or the absence of a vibrant two-party system in Hawaii, civic pride alone ought to compel people to register, and then actually vote. It took me 12-minutes to vote this year. 12-minutes. Why 340,000 registered and didn't vote, and why another 200,000 people 18-years or older never even bothered to register is puzzling even to the political science experts.

And yet everyone's got an opinion and loves to lay blame- rightfully so. But I think you really do forfeit some of your earned right to complain if you don't participate. As the campaign said, "no vote, no grumble". So if you didn't vote or even register to vote, I guess you can now grumble about this editorial chastising you. But should we listen to you? Think about it…

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