Thursday, April 24, 2014

Distressing disenfranchisement

I received a sad email the other day. It depressed me for two reasons.

The email was from our Town Center Village office notifying us about voting in this weekend's election for Columbia Association Board & Village Board. Our village board has 2 spaces & 2 candidates, so that's not a factor as they both win.

But our incumbent, Suzanne Waller, does have an opponent. I'll refer you to my friend Bill over at the 53 for a quick basis on why not to vote for said opponent. Her opposition to the Inner Arbor plan is disheartening. She is in that camp of Columbia regressives who assign conspiracy theories to all land use discussions. "Let's keep Symphony Woods the same as it is where the only use is Wine in the Woods & people walking through it to Merriweather Post." For an analysis of the campaign rally, I mean, Save Symphony Woods shenanigan last Saturday, check out Julia's post.

That's not exactly what distressed me though. The numbers did.

Don't quote me because I deleted the email after I did what I was supposed to...Vote.

As of late last week, less than 140 ballots had been received. The mailer had gone out - it's free, postage paid! - so I found it in my mail pile, signed & sent it back.

But the second piece of disheartening news was the reminder that the quorum for Town Center is 10% & that equates to about 215 votes. (Voting is by unit, not person.)

Isn't it sad that we've allowed people to give up? At some point, years ago, our village boards decided these little quorums were enough. We've accepted the possibility, no, the absolute probability of apathy. Or that the pursuit of happiness is greater than affirming our liberty.

In 2010, Frank Hecker noted that 20% of Howard County residents are independent/unaffiliated. This is depressing because that means they've signed themselves up for only the general election. I can understand certain professions where that's advisable & common.

Nobody realizes how few people were allowed to vote when our supposed "democracy" began. White male property owners basically. Getting the right to vote was a privilege! Why do we not recognize that anymore? Why do so many ignore the elections that determine so much about their lives?

Don't disenfranchise yourself - it takes 1 minute to vote in Town Center's election. Check the box, sign & seal. (Alright, given Columbia's community mailbox system, it may take 3 minutes.) Vote in your Democratic or Republican primary - Early Voting is June 12 - 19 this year, including the weekend! Take advantage of your freedom to vote. I will!


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