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The Madera Tribune

A vote of thanks to all who stayed away

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webmaster | 06/07/12

Thirty-one percent of Madera County’s 52,826 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday, which means fewer than a third of us made decisions about how we should be governed in the future.

That percentage may not seem like much, but it’s much better than Fresno County’s approximately 17 percent turnout or the state’s approximately 27 percent turnout.

People seem to be staying away from the polls more and more. When you ask somebody why he or she didn’t vote, they will offer many reasons, from forgetfulness to simply not caring. Some people believe not voting is a way of voting for “none of the above.”

Frankly, I love all who didn’t vote. Their staying away from the polling places meant that those of us who did vote will have a greater say in how we will be governed.

More and more, those who do vote are choosing to vote by mail. On Tuesday, 11,431 absentee ballots were cast, compared to the 5,188 people who voted at the polls.

I have been a mail-in voter for years, because I like the idea of pondering the ballot, seeing who is on it, and weighing the pros and cons of ballot measures.

I don’t actually mail the ballot. I take it to the County Administration Building and put it into the hands of an election official. By this exchange, citizen to citizen, we make democracy work.

I cast my first vote in Columbia, Mo., where I was a college student, in an election much like the one today. It was a presidential primary. I remember U.S. Sen. Stuart Symington of Missouri was one of the candidates. I had met him, and was impressed by his demeanor and his knowledge. Voting for “Stu,” as he was called, was a huge deal for me. It gave me a sense of having taken part in democracy. I was proud of myself.

Symington lost, of course, to a guy named John F. Kennedy, but I still felt I had done my part. I’m sure I’m not the only voter who feels or has felt that way. If you are one who didn’t vote, you missed a good chance to swell a little with pride.


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