FILE - Voting, poll, voting booth, election

“Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

– George Jean Nathan

At times, a group of people with differing opinions must come together to make a decision between several options. This happens in business, social organizations and politics. In business, those left out of the process fight back. In social organizations, those not allowed a voice in selecting officers, planning events or spending demonstrate their displeasure by quitting or changing the bylaws. In America, everyone registered to vote has an equal voice in the republican process. Yet only on rare occasions do half of them show up. Those who stay home show no concern after the damage done by electing the wrong person.

“When fewer votes are cast, every vote counts more.”

– Alex Macon

After the two elections of Barack Obama, every American is aware all political races in our nation depend on whose supporters vote. A Census Bureau report shows a higher percentage of African Americans than whites voted in the Obama elections for only the second time in our history. The driving force in 1968 was an anomaly to political or ethnic polarity since it was the first election after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Over 70 percent of blacks voted in the Obama contests, and the Hispanic vote increased by 9.4 percent. Only 64 percent of white voters made the effort.

“You can fool some of the people some of the time and that's enough to make a decent living.”

– WC Fields

Democracies around the world hold elections to reboot their nations. Some register everyone and it is mandatory to vote. Others shame those who don’t. But turnout in American elections is fraught with a pattern of shrinking participation. We are lucky to get half of our voters to the polls during a presidential race and 10 percent for local elections! There’s no democracy where every seat in a legislative house is up for grabs every two years where so few votes are cast. This is routine in every midterm election.

“Every election in America has been determined by those who don’t vote.”

– Carl Williams

According to recent data from the U.S. Census, our voter turnout is the lowest in the free world. There are more than 240 million voting-aged Americans, yet nearly 130 million consistently don’t vote. And why do Americans take the sacramental duty to vote so lightly? They have more excuses than the guy who got busted for shoplifting at Walmart. Those who seldom vote claim: “My vote doesn’t count, why vote.” This is a typical excuse for not voting in the presidential election. Although the Electoral College does elect the president, these voters are a bit confused: They elect the Electoral College who must support their candidate.

“Stupid is as stupid does.”

– Forrest Gump

The father of democracy, Pericles The Great of ancient Greece, birthed the system of government we live by today. When our founders were scratching their heads trying to invent a perfect union, they borrowed from the success of Pericles, and avoided the failures of the Roman Republic. The Great Compromise enabled them to put forth a system of government run by individuals chosen by the people. This bridged geographic limitations and insured nobody was disenfranchised. Although “indirect democracy” is an intricate part of our electoral franchise, “direct democracy” is alive and well in local government. We have the ability to make or defeat laws or politicians “directly,” in local elections.

“A local election is the only place you actually know your candidate exists.”

– Albie Willis

Few voters cognize local elections are the result of fine tuning the government of Pericles and are decided by a direct vote of the people. Many candidates are chosen in the primaries by the people who show up and those who don’t. When a policy or candidate decision goes directly to the people, it is their chance to participate in direct democracy. This includes budget and policy decisions as well as candidate approval. These salient events take place in primary or special elections. Yet the turnout for these elections is dismal.

“I never vote for anybody. I always vote against.”

– WC Fields

Local elections are the most under-supported right in our republic! Few care little of what goes on outside their communities, but they don’t vote in local elections. This is a paradigmatic American concept. The federal government is too daunting and local elections directly influence democracy. This is where real people make real decisions that impact their lives. And the state and feds can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it. If a federal or state official is being replaced, vying candidates are placed on an uneventful obscure ballot that few know or care about. This can be more disastrous than giving a teenager a checkbook. After the election is long over, they ask, “How did he get elected?”

“Ballot boxes in America are more often starved than stuffed.”

– EC Mckenzie

Although city, county, school board and other local government elections inflict the most damage on our pocketbooks, few care that their county commission has been stocked with members of the local school board and county workers decided in a primary. Bad candidates are elected by voters who don’t vote!

“Not voting is voting to hand your power over to someone to abuse it.”

– Eric Lieu

In a recent special election in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones edged out Republican Roy Moore 49.9 percent to 48.4 percent. This cost the GOP a seat in the U.S. Senate. Republican Greg Gianforte’s 6 percent win in Montana was a nail-biter over an unrated Democrat. A bitter battle over a House seat in Georgia ended in a 52–48 victory for Karen Handel (R) over Jon Ossoff (D). The GOP staved off a crushing upset in Kansas’s 4th Congressional District, when life-saving, last-minute strategy saved the day for Ron Estes (R) over Obama-style Democrat James Thompson. In the red state of Tennessee, a long-time state Republican representative won by only 300 votes over a lesser-unknown Democrat. In special legislative elections pitting a Democrat against a Republican, 12 out of 15 have seen a net swing toward the Democrats.

“The first lesson is this: take it from me, every vote counts.”

– Al Gore

Winston Churchill once said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Are Democrats all of a sudden the people’s choice for special elections? If you think that you believe Obama is a capitalist. It is the Republicans who are electing Democrats who have become complacent due to recent gains in federal and state houses and are still gloating about these victories. This apathy will soon be their demise.

“Those who are politically apathetic can only survive if they are supported by people who are capable of taking action.”

– Pericles

The price we pay for freedom is responsibility. It's a debt we’ll never pay off. Not voting sends a clear message of disrespect for the lives of many people who died fighting for these rights. It’s uncanny to think of where America would be if our founders, activists, and soldiers felt the same way as so many pacifist voters do today. No one gave them a mandate to do what they did for America in the face of far more difficult times than many of us have ever encountered. Not voting can lead to the destruction of an entire nation if the wrong candidate wins.

"Adolph Hitler won an election in 1932, and 50 million people died as a result of that election, including 6 million Jews.”

– Bernie Sanders

Bad candidates are not elected only by their supporters, but more so by those who don’t vote. If you read the results of an election and wonder how come the wrong guy won:

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.”

– Pericles