Our Opinion: Political season looks disastrous in the county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2008

The people of Marengo County must be a trusting lot. Not only were there four uncontested races in Tuesday&8217;s elections, there were only 2,568 ballots cast.

That&8217;s an appalling figure in a county with 14,545 registered voters according to the official list published by Probate Judge Cindy Neilson. That means less than 10 percent of the registered voters in the county are deciding the direction of Marengo County for the next four years.

What&8217;s the reason for the low voter turnout? It reminds us of the old joke where someone asks the difference between ignorance and apathy. The smart-aleck answer, of course, is &8220;I don&8217;t know, and I don&8217;t care.&8221;

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That&8217;s apparently the frame of mind Marengo County voters found themselves in on Tuesday when the polls opened. When the state considers why the Black Belt is such an economically depressed area, the voters of Marengo County can proudly take some of the blame. Not only can people not be bothered to run competitive political races, but the voters can&8217;t even be shamed into coming out to exercise their civil rights.

But the state may as well take some of the blame. Alabama moved its national primaries up several months quicker than usual. That nearly insured the horrendous turnout in Tuesday&8217;s elections.

In an election year that has seen one national candidate rise to prominence with his promise of change, the citizens of Marengo County resolutely sat for the status quo. They settled for ignorance and apathy and stayed away from the polls in droves. Even worse, many of the candidates weren&8217;t even challenged for their seats. All in all, the 2008 political season looks disastrous in Marengo County.

When people can&8217;t be bothered to exercise their civil rights, that&8217;s when they are in the most danger of losing them. Perhaps the voters in Marengo County should remember that.