The primary election has come and gone and the final two Mayoral front- runners are, in this Dog’s eyes, nothing to write home about. Councilwoman Jolie Justus from the city’s 4th District and Quinton Lucas from the city’s 3rd District are the two top vote-getters from Tuesday’s primary election and will advance to the general election in June.
Neither candidate really did anything to distance themselves from the pack in terms of critical thinking and new governing ideas for the city. Additionally, both candidates voted for every cock-and-bull big development giveaway that came down the pike.
Both also voted yes on The Paseo name change debacle for you single-issue voters out there. It will be interesting to see how their message is crafted in order to energize the majority of registered voters who opted out of the primary last Tuesday.
Voter turnout matters and as this politically-savvy News Dog has noted so many times before, capital spending is dictated by those districts that regularly turn out the largest percentage of voters.
Jackson County voters inside the city limits turned out the best numbers, if they can be called that, with a scant 19.15% turnout. That translates to a little over 40,000 votes out of roughly 209,000 registered voters.
Platte County, part of the burgeoning Northland, turned out a little over 5100 ballots from 30,500 registered voters, translating to a 16.6% turnout.
Clay County, hot commissioner mess that it is, could only manage about 21,000 ballots cast out of over 157,000 registered voters for a disappointing 13.35%.
That means next time you’re discussing politics at a social event or at the corner tavern, 80% of the people there didn’t exercise their constitutional right to vote.
Think about this for a moment – over 80% of the registered voters in Kansas City stayed home for whatever reason and didn’t desire to take an interest in how their city would be run over the next four years.
You can bet that the loudest and most vociferous complainers will come from the same 80% that stayed home on Tuesday.
While the Dog can certainly understand being fed up with the way City Hall doles out tax breaks to hot-shot developers like Halloween candy, that’s not an excuse to opt-out because the same crop of candidates promises everything to everyone. Even crazy Clay got in to the act this year and was a one man circus with his manically concocted manifesto press releases touting his anti-establishment, anti-big media, anti-everything agenda to anyone with a set of ears and a wagon load of tolerance for Chastain’s Anger-Speak. The Dog thinks it’s high time Clay and his crazy train wreck find their way back to the Virginia Hills, never to be heard from again in these parts.
Here’s the bottom line on this whole sad affair. When fewer than 20% of the electorate is motivated to go to the polls and cast a ballot, maybe it’s time to re-think how elections are done in this country.
While the Dog thinks it’s a little too soon to sound the death march for democracy, something needs to be done to bolster voter turnout.