Whoever the next mayor is, the reality is this. She or he will be a product of a vote that will likely reflect the direct preference of 1 in 5 voters. That’s what mayoralty turnouts (20.55 percent last week) look like in this city–and all the excuses, including the truncated time period, post-mid-terms fatigue and possibly less-than-chamber-of-commerce weather, are ready for the rehashing and rationalizing. The unrationalized bottom line: This is a microcosm of this country’s flawed, democratic underbelly. Voting–especially for representatives who are closest to the people–is a right and a privilege. For too many it’s a bother or a parallel universe they don’t inhabit. And chances are, voting via smart phone won’t be a game changer.
Low turnout, underscores Mayor Bob Buckhorn, “puts the future of our community in the hands of a small number of people.” That’s not how American democracy is supposed to work. No, the American electorate no longer precludes those who aren’t white, land-owning males from voting, although subtle forms of suppression still linger. It typically excludes those who preclude themselves out of indifference and laziness.