The New Milford results are in. And while there's nothing particularly surprising about how the town voted, I am shocked at the low turnout.
According to the tallies at the Danbury News-Times:
1497 registered Republicans voted for a senate candidate.
929 registered Democrats voted for a gubernatorial candidate.
That's only 2416 people, out of a town with some 30,000 souls (nearly 18,000 eligible voters, according to the Housatonic Times).
There are, I'm sure, several reasons for the low turnout.
-It's a primary, not a general, so people aren't as plugged in as they should be.
-It's a mid-term election, so people aren't as fired up as they would be for a presidential race.
-It's summer, and people are out of town.
-There were more Republican races (did I hear some guy named Marty was running for probate judge?), so Democrats weren't as interested.
-Because it's a primary, where one must vote within their own party, independents were left out.
But you know what? All of those reasons suck. There is absolutely no reason for New Milford voters to sit an election out.
I am always amazed at the number of people who refuse their responsibilities as citizens by opting out of election. And then feel they have a legitimate reason to complain about the state of affairs. Voting is the responsibility that comes with our constitutional rights. To shirk that responsibility is downright disrespectful. To the constitution, to the republic, to one's fellow citizens, and to one's self.
That's particularly so in these off-year elections and primaries, when each vote counts more, since only a single state, or district, or town, is in play.
I've heard people say, "Well, all the candidates for office X are bums, so I won't vote at all." Which makes as much sense as John Boehner explaining his devotion to both reducing the deficit and extending the Bush tax cuts for the uber-wealthy. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/john_boehner_talks_tax_cuts.html
(But, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone say something completely ridiculous about politics, I could probably buy myself a senate seat.)
If you want any say in how your government works, educate yourself about the candidates, and then choose one.
If you believe in free speech, exercise yours at the ballot box.
If you want to earn the moniker of "patriot," get off your butt and go to the polls.
If you don't vote, you're just part of the problem.
Here's hoping the turnout numbers are much, much higher in November.