Letters to the Editor

Letter: Poor showing

March 2, 2013


To the editor:

This past Tuesday, residents of Lawrence were given an opportunity to let their voice be heard in the most democratic way possible: an election. I am proud to live in a city that cares enough about affording individuals an adequate and equal opportunity to vote that I not only had the opportunity to vote on Tuesday, but out of fear of inclement weather or perhaps simply personal convenience, I could vote in advance of the “official” election.  In fact, though I cast my vote on Sunday, advance voting began Feb. 6, giving any registered Lawrence voter 20 days in which to complete a process that takes little more than a moment of time.

Imagine my surprise, embarrassment and shame for this community when I opened my newspaper Wednesday morning to read that voter turnout was 8.6 percent. Indeed, more than 90 percent of our community’s voters simply couldn’t put forth the effort to cast a simple ballot. Imagine my surprise, embarrassment and shame for this community when I read that in a community of 88,000 residents, that the top vote-getter had received less than 3,000 total votes.

All around this community I hear people speaking in fearful tones of decisions made by their government both regionally and nationally that serve to limit or flat out remove their individual liberties.  But why shouldn’t they remove them, when so few of us make any use of the liberties we possess?


Water 5 years, 3 months ago

It's a common theme in the LjW LTE. Not enough people...... Vote Use the local golf courses. Ride the T bus system Use the Library Exercise Implement water conservation measures Implement energy conservation measures Pay child support (I don't see this as a LTE topic but threw it in 'cause it's true)

Ya' know what people do....eat. Next election, put the voting booths in restaurants, you'll see an increase in voter turn out.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 3 months ago

Schools and churches are the primary locations: maybe bad memories keep folks away from these? In all fairness, Checkers grocery store is a precinct location too....maybe get the Hy Vees and Dillons stores to step up to the plate in other parts of town???

Joe Hyde 5 years, 3 months ago

The transportation and safe footing difficulties caused by a couple of bang-bang 10-inch snow storms can take the starch out of the most ardent voter.

I'll bet the voter turnout is much higher come the general election. Well, assuming Lawrence doesn't get buried by another deep snowfall, or clobbered by a tornado.

Water 5 years, 3 months ago

What do you bet close to 100% of regestered voters who own a four wheel drive vehicle, didn't vote? Ha. It's apathy, not the weather. We had until 7:00pm to vote. You know who volunteers to tend the voting polls? LITTLE OLD LADIES!!!! THAT's RIGHT, 70+ year old women make it to the polls.

Dan Eyler 5 years, 3 months ago

I guess this is the reality of an uneducated electorate who spend more time listening to reality TV than the reality of their own lives. Someone needs to do a better job of telling the uneducated who to vote for.

Michelle Fales 5 years, 3 months ago

I helped one candidate with their election. This candidate did not make it into the top 6. We will never know if the weather played a part in who got out and voted for her or not. But what did make our day was Wednesday, we received an email from a resident of Babcock Place who got out in the weather and rode the T to make sure she was able to help get her voice heard. This is a woman who truly appreciates her privilege to vote in our democratic country. If this elderly woman made such effort, everyone else could have also. Aside from advance polling being open for three weeks prior to the election, Jamie Shew, our County Clerk, and his team extended advanced voting hours; opened on Sunday; with the help of the Secretary of State had Monday extended to 7 pm. Every candidate that I was following was getting emails, texts, FB messages, calls, etc out to make sure everyone knew. And you know what else Jamie Shew did. He slept in the courthouse, in a sleeping bag, so that he could ensure being at the courthouse Tuesday morning so he could help dispatch drivers to take people to man each polling place. By 7:30 am every polling place was open. The County Clerk's office did an amazing job.
And the result 8.6%. Sad and pathetic for a town like Lawrence where it seems every resident has an opinion. Make your opinion truly be heard on April 2nd and get out and vote in the General Election. Not only do we have the important City Commission race on the ballot but the school bond issue. Let's challenge our special town to double or more the turnout from the Primary Election! And thank you Matthew for your letter!

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes,a big thanks to Matthew and also to you Michele and a big one to Jaime Shew.

It seems like there are people such as Mr. Shew who do so much to help others and only receive indifference for their work.

tomatogrower 5 years, 3 months ago

This is really sad, especially since the local elections and government touch our lives far more than the national elections. And the advance voting was so easy. Sunday was a beautiful day and there were quite a few people who showed up. Jamie Shew and his crew worked hard to allow people to vote early and avoid the storm. I am sure they are even more disappointed. They do all they can to make voting easy for people. Get away from your TV and computer and go out and vote!!

windjammer 5 years, 3 months ago

After I read the first paragraph of Mr. Herberts post patting himself on the back and telling how cool it was to advance vote. I knew the next paragraph would be to express his shame for all the other voters. Sorry the voters didn't meet your expectations.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 3 months ago

I don't believe any shame/embarassment was meant towards "voters". I think it's the non-voters that shame was directed at.

mom_of_three 5 years, 3 months ago

okay, I will say it. It. was. a. primary.

Michelle Fales 5 years, 3 months ago

mom_of_three: tell that to the 5 who didn't make it. Normally there is not enough candidates running for City Commission to warrant a primary. But with 11 in the race, this primary was very important! If you have a difficult time finding three candidates you are passionate about in the General election, you might be wishing you voted in the primary.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

"But with 11 in the race, this primary was very important! If you have a difficult time finding three candidates you are passionate about in the General election, you might be wishing you voted in the primary. "

You can be passionate about your candidates all you want but the fact is, even if you voted in the primary, there is no guarantee that they would win. So you still could have voted in the primary and still feel you have crappy choices for candidates in the general election.

And the number of candidates in a primary does not necessarily indicate its importance.

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

Don't know if it's apathy or cynicism. Intelligent folks know the political process--local as well as national--gives the wealthy an upper hand in the process. Why vote? It merely lends legitimacy to a corrupt process.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 3 months ago

Please don't take this personally, but that response was ridiculous. Asking people to express an opinion, giving each and every person one "point" for their opinion regardless of personal wealth or prestige and declaring a winner based solely upon total votes is a corrupt process? Take off your tin foil hat and participate.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

I think the comment is more about the wealthy having the upper hand simply because they can spend more. Generally, the candidates that can outspend their opponents win.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 3 months ago

in a local election? Seriously? We're not talking millions of dollars in campaign spending here. Jeremy Farmer took second place in the primary as the director of a local food pantry. Who on this message board wants to tell me that he's wealthy?

Bob Forer 5 years, 3 months ago

He is backed by the wealthy. Look at his campaign contribution list.

Katara 5 years, 3 months ago

Who said anything about millions of dollars? I said generally, the candidates that outspend their opponents win. And the candidate doesn't have to be wealthy, they just have wealthy supporters. That does allow the wealthy to have an upper hand via their candidate.

IIRC, all the ones that lost the primary spent very little (and did not raise much for funding) overall compared to the ones that won the primary.

George_Braziller 5 years, 3 months ago

I didn't vote in the primary but it's the first election I've missed in 25 years. The reason I sat out on this one was because I hadn't done my homework and didn't really know anything about the candidates.

bankboy119 5 years, 3 months ago

I think 8.6% is actually a decent turnout for a primary. If it were a general election then that would be low. Way too long of a whine for a primary.

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