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Apathy polls well, again

Posted

To the editor:

Today, when a candidate wins his or her election by more than a 5-percent margin, we call it a landslide because most races are tight these days due to political divisions. Given this, the midterms had a very clear winner — apathy — by 8 points. According to an analysis by the Washington Post, only 46 percent of registered voters participated nationwide. 

The most involved voters reside in Maine, where 60.8 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, while the least interest in democracy was shown by Mississippians where less than one-third of those allowed to vote actually did (32.3 percent). Voters here in New York showed slightly less than average concern in who runs their government when only 43.6 percent of them undertook the arduous task of casting a ballot.

Perhaps this explains why politicians feel they needn’t be responsive to us. Do the math for yourself. Take this year’s midterm race for the House, as all seats were up for election. As per the U.S. Census, there are roughly 264 million Americans of voting age among 338 million citizens; and, the Cook Political Report says that the GOP received roughly 54 million or 50.9 percent of all votes cast in gaining a majority of seats. This translates into roughly 20 percent of American adults actually choosing the GOP to run the House. Had Democrats prevailed, the numbers would be no different. When four out of five people either vote against you or simply choose not to vote at all, why should you fight for them? 

Sadly, this year’s election was not atypical; election turnout is usually low. Predictably, many Americans tell pollsters they are dissatisfied with our government. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault, my fellow citizens, is not in our government, but in ourselves. 

Joseph Cannisi

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