This guest column first appeared in the Daily Record in June 2018. It bears repeating.
Drama critic and magazine editor George Jean Nathan hit the nail on the head when he said, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
Nathan died in 1958 but his quote was prophetic. Statistically speaking, less than one in three eligible (31 percent) voters cast a ballot in Kittitas County’s April special election on whether or not to approve a port district. So essentially those two-thirds of eligible voters who did not cast a ballot allowed others to speak for them.
Collectively, we’ve confused the advantage or benefit of privilege with one of responsibility and duty when it comes to voting. It’s remarkably disturbing that more county citizens didn’t bother to cast a ballot in April. But the trend in Kittitas County for this special election is not unlike voter turnout across our nation in general. Officials report that a whopping 58 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2016 general presidential election. Just 58 percent. That’s abysmal by any standard. I guess we get what we deserve.