To the editor:
How low do we go and still call our system a democracy when a small number of voters decide the outcome on Election Day? Two of the three Mat-Su Borough Assembly races had no choice of candidates. At least there were choices for areawide school board candidates. Voter turnout in a regular Mat-Su Borough election that included a vote for mayor hasn’t been this dismal since 1997, when the turnout was about 18.5 percent.
Last Tuesday, roughly 16 percent made it to the polls on Election Day. About 2.5 percent voted early absentee, requested an absentee ballot or voted a question ballot. If the current vote trend continues, a mere 11 percent of registered voters will determine the winner in the borough mayor’s race, even less in the areawide school board races. The percentages would be even lower if they included those who are eligible to vote but are not registered.
More than four of five registered voters didn’t exercise their hard-won right to choose their leadership. My guess is that those who showed up to vote were mostly super voters. No wonder campaigns are content to focus on the few who vote. Super voters are predictably reliable and less expensive to reach than everyone else who could vote but doesn’t.
Good for campaigns. Bad for democracy.