This goes against the grain, I know, but I’m not a big fan of urging, pleading with or shaming people into going to the polls on election day.

People who are well-versed on the issues, who respect their right to vote and who know the importance of it don’t have to be reminded.

But the idea of giving people a guilt trip or practically dragging them to the polls — are these the people we want deciding who is going to run our government?

Is a high voter turnout that important?

Would the country be better served with a 20 percent voter turnout consisting of people who followed the issues and were passionate about the candidates they supported — or by a 50 percent turnout of people who were just going through the motions?

Remember, we usually get the kind of government we deserve.

Obviously, the best solution is to inspire people to get more involved.

There are some myths about high voter turnout.

One of them is spread by people whose candidates lost an election.

They are often heard to blame a low voter turnout for their candidate’s loss.

That would only be true if a big majority of those who stayed home would have voted for their candidate.

Let’s say Jones defeats Smith, 1,000 to 800, a 55 percent margin. And let’s say there are 2,500 eligible voters, meaning 700 voters stayed home.

If all 700 had voted, creating a 100 percent voter turnout, Smith, who lost, would need 451 to 249 to overtake Jones and win the election.

In other words, Smith, who lost with 45 percent of the vote, would have to get 64 percent of those 700 extra votes to win. Not likely.

More realistically, let’s say 300 of the 700 eligible voters were lured to the polls. Smith would need 251 of those 300 votes to win. Not going to happen.

As we’re fond of saying in this election year, it’s arithmetic, folks.

I am reminded of the fellow running for Congress in Louisiana several years ago who was accused of vote fraud.

He had been going around in poor neighborhoods, giving people $5 to go to the polls to vote for him.

It gave a whole new meaning to “Give me five.”

But back to the main point: If you don’t know anything about the issues or the candidates — and you don’t care one way or another — you have my permission to stay home on election day.

But don’t you dare gripe about the government you get.

Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or


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