MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 18, 2014

Voter apathy a disgrace, inexcusable


— Muskogee voters had their lowest turnout in a general election this millennium during last week’s City Council elections.

And that’s terrible.

Everyone in the city had an election in which to vote.

Everyone who ran should be commended. Everyone who voted should be thanked for doing their job as a citizen of Muskogee.

Those who didn’t vote, you have no valid complaint in how Muskogee is run. You’re part of the problem.

A mere 6.32 percent of more than 20,000 eligible voters cast ballots.

To put it another way, every person voting made a decision for roughly 16 other voters.

It’s as if the majority of the citizens of Muskogee were unaware an election was happening.

The arguments are many:

• Why vote when I don’t care who wins?

• There was no mayoral race.

• I only got to vote for councilors in my ward.

• I didn’t like the choices.

• I didn’t have enough time.

These are not good arguments. They’re lazy and apathetic.

There’s one overwhelming reason to vote: Somebody will represent you, regardless if you go to the polls or not.

We understand that presidential elections and Senate midterms get a lot of attention — and much more interest — leading to an increase at the polls. But if you have potholes on your drive to work, think the park needs to be open longer, or want Muskogee to grow, state and national officials won’t be getting involved.

Your local elected officials are the ones who handle the issues that matter most to Muskogee citizens.

Voter apathy hurts, and it’s inexcusable.

We must do better.