What if they held an election and nobody came? Well, it happened several weeks ago, in New Ashford, Massachusetts. But before folks start wringing their hands about voter apathy, they should take note of the fact that there wasn’t anything to vote for. Oh, sure, candidates were on the ballot for the U.S. Senate, Congress, state senate and the state house of representatives. Only thing is: there were no opposing candidates.
That’s right, not a single competitive primary race. Not one. Poor Richard DeMyer, the Town Clerk, opened the polls at 6:30 am and closed them at 8:30 pm. He spent 14 straight hours, alone, staring at the walls. To be sure, there are only 187 registered voters in New Ashford, but zero for 187 isn’t much of a batting average. Asked why he didn’t vote, DeMyer responded, “Why . . . should I? Nobody else did.” DeMyer told me he plans to vote in November, but only out of a “sense of duty,” not “interest.”
Says DeMyer, “There’s no competition.” There could be competition in Massachusetts this year like there is in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and other states with term limits for their legislatures. Don’t blame Massachusetts voters. They passed term limits back in 1994, but the state courts blocked it. If they had term limits, there would be plenty of open-seat races with plenty of competitive candidates to choose from. And there would have been something else it’s kind of nice to have in a democracy: voters.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.