It’s simple, this is what democracy is all about, the freedom and ability to vote for who you so choose to become a leader in our various systems of government. On April 3, 2012 District citizens have the opportunity and I dare say the obligation to vote in Democratic, Republican, and Statehood-Green primaries across the city. This is not an endorsement of the candidates rather of the process because at the core of the push for Statehood is the basic yearning to have something meaningful to vote for, to have the full rights as our neighbors to take a few minutes to select those that we think could best lead our government. There’s a large sentiment across the District that we need to “throw the bums out” but it’s up to the voters to determine who the bums are.
Turnout should be high, although many don’t expect it will be, because this primary election could transform the make-up of the Council and the winners of the primary have a clear advantage in the general election this Fall. According to the District Board of Elections and Ethics as of February 29th, 2012 there are presently 458,838 registered voters in the District (No Party/Independent: 79,572 (can’t vote on Tuesday); Other: 1,440 (can’t vote either); Statehood-Green: 4,154; Republican: 30,157; and Democrat: 343,515). On Friday, on the Kojo Nnamdi Show the Democratic candidates for the At-Large Council seat were all predicting that turnout for their primary election would be roughly 40-50,000 people. That’s 14-15%, how undemocratic!!! For those upset with the trajectory of our local government or those slap-happy with its transparency, openness, effectiveness (kidding of course) it’s hard to believe that only 14 or 15% of folks will turn out to exercise their democratic rights.
Should we have a local primary election so early in the year to coincide with the Presidential Primary? No. Absolutely not, but the District is trying to both save money and comply with Federal elections laws for overseas voters and the need to get ballots ready in time. Hopefully in future years the Primary will be later than this years but that doesn’t excuse such low predicted turnout. If you believe in throwing the bums out, then do something on Tuesday to expedite the process. If you believe in our elected leadership go out and cast a vote to support them. But whatever you do, don’t stay home on Tuesday and then complain about the results on Wednesday.
Elections, like the push for Statehood, ultimately are decided by involvement of the people. If the vast majority of us choose to do nothing then nothing will happen. If some of us (15%) do something then maybe some changes will occur but if the vast majority of us take a stand, speak up, and take action then we can create the change we are seeking. Go vote on Tuesday and make your voice is heard for the direction you believe the District needs to move.
On April 3, 2012 make sure you thank those election workers as they are they unsung heroes of 200+ years of democracy that keep the process open and functional for all of us.