Have Voters Lost Their Passion?

Thursday, September 18, 2014 Written by 
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Four million voters in Scotland are expected to go to the polls on September 18 to decide whether to forge independence from the rest of the United Kingdom.  Scotland has been part of the UK for more than 300 years.


It is the only ballot decision Scottish voters will have to make.  Those on the “Yes” side want to be free of English—i.e. Tory Party—control.  The Scottish have fared worse economically among UK citizens because they are more reliant on public assistance.  London officials have made several public spending cuts to balance the Treasury’s finances.  To summarize what is happening in Scotland, think of the political left-wing separating itself from the U.S. 


 The latest polls place the “No” vote at a slight advantage, at 52%.  However, that could quickly change.  Both sides are pushing for a win after several months of campaigning, but the race is still too close to call.


 Women, who make up more than half of voters, dominate the pool of the undecided.  Most voters over the age of 65 are on the “No” side, fearing a separation would break up their families.


 Turnout may reach as high as 90%, based on recent projections, a significant increase compared to recent UK elections.  This historic election has drawn global interest and the voting age has been changed to include citizens as young as 16.  Voter registration is at an all-time high.  It’s just that important! 


 It leads me to ask, “What would be important enough to solicit a similar turnout out in Inglewood?”    Congresswoman Maxine Waters expressed her desire at Mayor Butts’ Town Hall meeting to have Inglewood lead the way in voter turnout.  The question is, how do we get there?


 Who would have to run?  What would have to be on the ballot?


 Voter apathy is an unfortunate side effect of free nations.  Just as citizens have the right to vote, they also have the right not to vote.  People take their freedoms for granted.  In countries ruled by dictators, voter turnout is (not surprisingly) high.  After all, who is going to buck the current when a break with the status quo could end in a public execution?


 It is fear—not allegiance—that decides the winners in dictatorships.


 In Scotland’s case, tempers have been high, with reports of citizens destroying literature of their opponents and getting into yelling matches.  Of course people debate all the time in Inglewood—especially at council meetings.  But somehow all that passion doesn’t quite play out at the polls. 


 Last year, voter turnout in Inglewood’s councilmanic election was a low 15%.  L.A. saw a similar low turnout in their mayoral election, with 23% percent casting votes.  L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson said he’s even looking into incentives, which include paying people to vote.


 What would it take to get Inglewood fired up enough to break records at the polls?  It’s a question I don’t have the answers to, but I am enjoying the process of democracy unfolding in Scotland.


Read 11912 times Last modified on Thursday, September 18, 2014

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