They must be proud of themselves, the Little Rock insiders who pushed through a vote on a bond measure in hot-as-Hades mid-July.
Less than 4 percent of eligible voters turned out for the off-cycle exercise in 100-degree democracy. The measure, which refinances previous library bonds and puts an influx of cash into Little Rock public library branches, passed with over four-fifths of the minuscule turnout.
Now, as bond measures go, this one sure seems like a dream; its advocates say it will reduce, not increase, taxes.
But that July 14 vote!
“There was no organized opposition to the bond refinancing campaign,” we read, courtesy of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Still, Pulaski County Election Commission Executive Director Bryan Poe expected a higher voter turnout.” He thought they would get at least 6,000 voters. Still, even that many votes would have amounted to less than 5 percent of the over 126,000 registered city voters.
It certainly wasn’t any surprise, then, that turnout would be tiny and democratic decision-making left to a tiny fraction of the public.
Detect a certain odor?
It stinks of redistricting. When politicians redistrict voters so that predictable partisan outcomes can be reached — somehow to the benefit of those doing the redistricting — the insiders are not really trying to provide representation to voters. They are trying to continue their business as usual.
“Insiders know best”?
By selecting a summer date for the vote, insiders in effect redistrict the voters using time as the gerrymandering boundary. Call it temporal redistricting, advantaging those with the most at stake in the vote’s outcome.
Call it democracy for the 1 (or 3½) percent.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.