Turnout needs to be better

Nov. 07, 2013 @ 04:00 AM

While it wasn't a surprise, the overall voter turnout for the 2013 municipal elections were somewhat alarming.

Only 1,503 eligible voters cast their ballot Tuesday for various races across Rutherford County. That came out to a 12.4 percent voter turnout.

That is bothersome.

We understand municipal elections traditionally draw much less than more prominent statewide and national elections but c'mon.

These town elections are voter's opportunity to really steer the direction of their respective community.

We said it time and time again, it is these aldermen, council and commission members that have some of the biggest impact on your tax dollars and how they are spent.

Judging by the low turnout, either Rutherford County voters thought things were just fine or just didn't care.

Either way, we have been given a fundamental right to vote for those who represent us on every level of government and it is a right that should not be taken lightly.

Rutherford County Elections Director Debbie Bedford attributed lower turnout due to the fact that Forest City — the largest town in the county — did not have a contested election.

There is significant logic to that statement.

It still doesn't change the fact that there were five strongly contested races in the county and it seemed that it wasn't a big deal to municipal voters.

The numbers are certainly telling as we head into the next election cycle in 2014. There, we will have races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state House and Senate as well as three County Commission races, Sheriff and Clerk of Court.

Additionally, it is the midterm election cycle for Congress meaning voters will have an opportunity to express their feelings over the direction of the country.

It is incumbent on each and every one of us eligible voters to do so.

Just because municipal elections don't contain the traditional political divisiveness that other elections do doesn't make them any less important for shaping our community and our lives.

While it is too late to cast a ballot for the municipal election cycle, it is certainly not too late to start getting educated on races coming up in 2014.

Learn about your candidates because an educated voter is the best voter.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark