16.5%

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yesterday, Annise Parker was elected to be Mayor of Houston. Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Parker. I’ve attached the article from the on-line edition of the Houston Chronicle if you’d like details about the election. It’s interesting reading.

The headlines last night and this morning will make a big deal about Ms. Parker being openly gay. What may not get as much attention is that only 16.5% of Houston’s 941,000 registered voters showed up for the run-off election, only 18.4% in November when 4 candidates were running.* Ms. Parker won 52.8% (81,971) of yesterday’s votes.

I don’t mean to diminish her victory in any way, except to state the obvious. 83.5% of registered voters didn’t make it to the polls. No doubt the people of Houston are preoccupied by other, more important problems which only our federal government can address, the profound nature of which may make city government seem petty and irrelevant. Whatever their specific reasons, the vast majority of the Houston electorate clearly didn’t care who got elected.

Only 8.7% of registered voters cast their votes for Ms. Parker – even less of the total eligible to vote, including those who didn’t register. She’ll govern, and probably govern well given her history. Unfortunately, as long as she doesn’t make any serious mistakes, no one will care, no one will be paying attention.

-wf

*Total votes cast in this 2 person run-off election were 155,302 which is 16.5% of 941,224 registered voters. Total votes cast for Mayor in the November 3 election were 173,151 which is 18.4% of registered voters.


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3 responses to “16.5%

  1. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs, actually. Anyway you slice it, it reflects the fact the majority of voters simply just do not care one way or another about who is mayor of this town. As I’ve always said in this kind of situation, whether it be local or national elections, they get what they deserve and forfeit their right to complain about it.

  2. Hi. Thanks for stopping by.

    It’s easy to blame the electorate whenever someplace throws an election and nobody comes.

    It’s not so much that the people are irresponsible, failing their duty as citizens, as it is that they’ve lost their faith in the ability of any particular elected official to make a difference.

    With rare exceptions, I suspect most voters don’t believe their lives will be any better whichever candidate is elected. More often than not, it comes down to personality issues. If you don’t have any real objection to either of the candidates, why bother to show up?

    Maybe it’s not the voters per se that are the problem, but a political system than discourages our very best from running for office unless they are career politicians with major party support and funding.

    More and more, I’m beginning to like the City Manager system, where a management expert is hired by a City Council to run the government.

    -wf

  3. RE:I suspect most voters don’t believe their lives will be any better whichever candidate is elected.

    This statement says the voting base has lost faith in the system; the very system they refuse to change by staying home.

    And yes, they are shirking their duties as citizens by failing to get involved in
    their
    government.

    Perhaps a city manager system would entice and encourage more voter involvement in the vetting process for city council members.

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