My Two Cents: Voter apathy alive and well in county

I was perusing the Pierce County Auditor’s Web site this morning and checking out the unofficial results of last Tuesday’s primary election.

I wasn’t too surprised – but still disappointed – to see that out of 346,116 registered voters in Pierce County, only 116,954 cast ballots.

That’s a voter turnout rate of only 33.79 percent.

It’s hard to believe that just after the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and with our military engaged against al-Qaida around the globe – not to mention the coming of a possible war to topple Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – most registered voters didn’t feel obligated to take part in the political process.

It’s sad the wave of patriotism that engulfed the nation following Sept. 11, 2001 didn’t translate into a higher voter turnout rate.

One can only wonder what sort of circumstances would prompt nonvoters to actually vote.

I don’t mean to get on my soapbox here, but don’t people realize how lucky they are to be living in a country where they have the privilege of voting?

Of course, I understand that some people are turned off by or are just uninterested in politics.

Fair enough, I say, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to engage in the sometimes tedious task of educating yourself on the issues and candidates and then casting an informed vote.

As it stands now, a minority of registered voters are making decisions for the majority – those registered voters who don’t vote, as well as those who are eligible to register, but haven’t.

I don’t think most people like the idea of other people making decisions for them, yet that – in essence – is what is happening.

People often complain about the government and the job it’s doing, or isn’t doing, as the case may be, and rightly so.

However, assuming the figures from the Pierce County Auditor’s Office hold, that means that most of those people venting their frustrations didn’t bother to vote!

So, for whatever reason – even if it’s just to have an air of credibility when you lambaste the government – I urge registered voters to vote in the general election in November.

If you’re eligible to vote, but aren’t registered – register and cast a ballot.

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who did vote – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.