Sad state of voter turnout

Nov 16 • Local News, ViewpointNo Comments on Sad state of voter turnout

election vote

Yes, somehow Donald Trump was elected president of the United States last week. It’s a stark reality that we here in Chatham-Kent, and in every democratic region around the globe must remember: the people have the power, should they choose to wield it.

The pre-election polls indicated Hilary Clinton would become the first female president of the United States. And then people went to vote, and just as importantly, didn’t.

Four out of every 10 eligible voters didn’t bother to cast their ballot. While Trump and Clinton had very similar numbers of voters cast ballots in their favour, the reality is that only about a quarter of eligible voters cast those ballots for either one of them.

In other words, had everyone voted, and had the folks who didn’t bother to take part in the democratic process cast their ballot for Gary Johnson, who ran as the Libertarian candidate, he would have won by a large margin.

Instead, the U.S. elected a man many call a racist and a misogynist; one with an short temper who has access to the nuclear launch codes.

They also elected a man who has never run for office at any level; an anti-politician, so to speak.

While one side will say the country put in place a possible megalomaniac, the other side will say they voted for change, sick and tired of the same old, same old. Yes, Clinton would have been the first female president of the United States, but she has spent decades immersed in the political filth that a growing number of Americans believe is staining government, as her husband, Bill, was a longtime politician, becoming governor of Arkansas and eventually president himself, before she waded into the fray.

Social media lit up the night of the election and the next day, as scores of people in Chatham-Kent, and around our nation, expressed shock that our neighbours to the south could elect someone such as Trump. Many of the people speaking out were women.

It’s interesting to note that some 53 per cent of white female voters in the U.S. voted for Trump. Again, that’s 53 per cent of the white women who bothered to vote.

We’ve seen what low voter turnout can do here. Randy Hope is a highly criticized mayor here in Chatham-Kent. But he’s serving his third term right now.

In a city of 100,000-plus people, he returned to office in 2014 with just over 9,200 votes, fewer than 12 per cent of the eligible vote. Only 42 per cent of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot. Deplorable.

Provincially, our voter turnout hovers around 50 per cent. And so many of us are stunned Kathleen Wynne is in power, running up our provincial debt as we see hydro rates continue to climb and manufacturing jobs continue to leave the province.

Your vote does count. Just look to the south for verification.

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