Dothan Eagle. May 25, 2022.
Editorial: Governed by a dwindling few
Many candidates this election cycle have made election integrity a plank in their platforms, although recounts, investigations, and legal actions have uncovered no evidence of voter fraud beyond few isolated incidents. However, they’re right to believe our electoral process is under siege. It’s just not what they’d have us believe.
The threat to the democratic process is apathy – specifically, voter apathy.
Many people believe American politics is a hot mess, and that’s a difficult position to refute. But it’s our own fault. We’re not governed by the majority. We’re governed by the majority of the few who bother.
On Tuesday, Alabama held Republican and Democratic primaries at polling places all over the state open for 12 hours for the state’s 3,638,986 registered voters. Only 849,733 voters showed up. That’s a turnout of 23.35%. Assuming the prevailing candidates won with just over 50% of the vote, that means the percentage of registered voters who put a candidate into office is roughly 12%.
Consider the population of Alabama –5,056,005 – being governed by an elected official put in office by roughly half of 849,733 voters, and the result is jarring: Our elected officials are seated with the support of only 8.4% of the population.
If that information doesn’t get people to the polls, we don’t know what will.