As expected, the turnout for Tuesday’s general election was disappointing.
Of the 13,192 Montour County residents registered to vote, just 3,703 — 28.07 percent — took the time to vote this time around. The interest wasn’t much better in neighboring Northumberland County, or in Union or Snyder counties. The turnout was 30.8 percent in Northumberland County, 32.42 percent in Snyder and 33.63 percent in Union.
Sadly, that is becoming the norm in off-year elections. The numbers are better in a hotly contested presidential election, but that’s just every four years. Many more elected officials affect our everyday lives than the president does. All four counties had races for county commissioner.
For something as important as deciding who makes the decisions about our government, our services, our tax dollars, our roads, most people don’t seem to care.
Many argue that it doesn’t matter who is in office, they’re all the same, or, they are all crooked or corrupt.
We think most people know that not all politicians are corrupt, though it seems the higher the pay for an office and the higher the office, the more likely the official could go astray.
So is the answer to throw up your hands in frustration and not vote? Hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, as is often the case in national elections?
If you don’t vote, you get what the majority of voters want. You might not like it. Even if you vote, you might not like the result. But at least you voiced an opinion, did your part to show the opposite party, if it came out on top, does not have carte blanche.
Sometimes it comes down to the lesser of two evils. There also is the third party option.
Some call that a wasted vote. But it also is an opinion (Don’t expect to get the policies you want, at least this time.)
With the changes to the voting law signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf just last week, voters will have more time to register to vote, cast absentee ballots and now a 50-day window of time before the election to vote by mail. Unlike absentee ballots, in which voters must explain why they can’t make it to the polls, the mail-in voting option will be available to anyone for any reason.
The measure also eliminates the straight party ticket voting option on the ballot, and will provide counties with $90 million to help pay for new paper-ballot voting machines ahead of the 2020 election and $4 million to pay for efforts to ensure the U.S. Census counts as many Pennsylvanians as possible.
But the governor, or anyone else, can’t vote for you.
There is that old saying, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.
Too bad so many people around here won’t have that right.