For most elections, those numbers are abysmal. For the May 6 election, when we had two school districts with significant bond issues on the ballot, the result was no different.
Despite the push to get people out to vote, 8,478 votes were cast for or against these two school districts’ proposals. That is only 20 percent of registered voters.
Yup, 20 percent. That means that only one in five registered voters decided to take 10-15 minutes out of their day to support the democratic process.
What’s more is that is actually considered to be a “good” turnout — with most school elections only drawing about 8-10 percent of voters. Last year’s May school election, for instance, spurred 9.8 percent of voters into action.
Given the fact that men and women of all colors and creeds have fought for or died for our rights as Americans to vote, you would think that more of us would care to exercise this privilege.
What is even more frightening is that 80 percent of us apparently trust the other 20 percent enough to make our decisions for us. Yikes!
Voter apathy is something often discussed by political pundits, but if one wants to get a real glimpse at how precious the right to vote is, they need not look farther than Afghanistan. In its recent elections, Afghanis risked their lives to cast a vote. Trying to derail any sort of democratic process, Taliban forces threatened to kill those who voted.
Although they knew the risks, Afghanis felt it their duty to vote. They risked their lives for this sense of duty, reveling in the privilege of being able to have some control of their destinies — as people and as a country. Their stories are truly incredible.
The only risk most Americans faced this spring when going to the polls were potholes in the streets or an allergy attack from pollinating trees.
So, what’s your excuse?
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.