Apathy is foe of democracy

Published 10:08 am Thursday, May 6, 2010

Voter apathy may have reached record low across the nation and certainly here in Lawrence County.

With 10 percent voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election, it became obvious that — despite the efforts of the media and the candidates themselves — far too many citizens don’t know what is going on in the world around them.

Or, even worse, they simply don’t care.

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Some would argue that the primary wasn’t important since there were few contested races and overall winners won’t be determined until the November general election.

That thought process is flawed and creates cracks in our foundation of democracy.

Several important races were impacted by Tuesday’s vote.

On a state level, two ballot issues — one that extended the Third Frontier job creation program and another that allowed a proposed Columbus casino to move to a better location — were voted on. Thankfully, both were approved by voters.

But what if they wouldn’t have passed? A program that has created more than 40,000 jobs would have been in jeopardy and the casino would have been built in a potentially inappropriate location.

Plus, several key state elected officials had primaries that matter. The Ohio House of Representative’s 89th District and the Ohio Senate’s 17th District were each contested, as well as one of the U.S. Senate seats.

With the challenges facing our nation, it is vital that the best possible candidates appear on the ballot. That can only happen if informed voters head to the polls.