Poor voter turnout suggests ignorant society

Poor voter turnout suggests ignorant society

Cartoon by Christy Kim

Kailey Tracy, Copy Editor

10 percent.  What does this measly number represent?  This year’s Baltimore City mayoral election turnout, nearly half of the turnout for the mayoral primaries this year. 

During the late 1700s to early 1800s in America, white male property owners, approximately 10-16 percent of the population, were the only citizens allowed to vote. The 2011 Baltimore City mayoral election felt as if we were time warped back to the early days of our country.

Only 10 percent of the city’s 370,000 registered voters casted their ballots, perhaps believing that the general election was not important because the candidates had already been narrowed down in the primaries.  Keeping this thought in mind, only about 20 percent of the citizens showed up for the primary election.  Both the general and primary election turnouts were historic lows for the city of Baltimore.

This is our city, our state, and our country.  This is our democracy to engage in, and letting vital rights such as handpicking leaders lay by the wayside is shameful.

Voting was previously seen as a privilege held by the social elite alone, not a right. Such a privilege was not open to women, African Americans, or the common man for fear of electing an incompetent leader.

Susan B. Anthony led the march for women’s voting rights. Women were finally granted this right in 1920.  Men such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X not only fought for African-American equality socially, but politically as well, striving for amendments regarding African-American’s voting rights to be enforced.  If no one is voting, then aren’t these heroic figures’ fights for the right to vote going to waste?

Citizens of this apparently lethargic town insult our nation’s history with their actions at the polls Nov. 8. 

Perhaps they have no recollection or knowledge regarding what it took to allow them to select their leaders.  Perhaps they have a disregard for politics. Perhaps they live in such a sheltered world that these prominent civil rights activists’ names have never come across their cloistered minds.

Are these valid excuses?  Not for a second.  Problems are not going to be fixed the way that you want them to be fixed unless you, as a citizen of this democratic country, take action and vote.  We have the power to take matters into our own hands. Don’t let it go to waste.

Democracy is a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people.  All of the political debates and arguments take place for a purpose. They give people the chance to change the political society in which they inhabit.

Kailey Tracy is a Copy Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.