What has been made clear in recent years, our government is not controlled by majority-selected representatives in many cases.
Heck, our president didn’t even win the popular vote, but that’s a conversation for a different time.
In Washington County, two of our five supervisor positions were chosen by less than a majority vote.
Each of those positions saw multiple Independent candidates splitting votes from the party-based candidates.
It’s no doubt many of those Independents chose to run outside of the party system either because they wanted to avoid the party primary, are truly independent or know a Republican doesn’t stand a chance of being elected in Washington County.
What also is without doubt, none of the party candidates in these local elections have strong ties to the national party. Donald Trump nor Nancy Pelosi will be coming to Washington County to endorse a candidate.
While the party system is a necessity for operating at the state and federal level, it’s definitely not at the local level.
Our local politicians don’t caucus in parties to set who will be on each committee. They aren’t directed by a party leader to vote a certain way.
So, why do we still elect local leaders based on their party?
I scoured the internet and spoke with several people about why we still use political parties in local elections and actually, sort of, found one: without bi-partisan elections there are no local organizing groups to help transport under-privileged folks to polls thus skewing the socio-economic base of the voters.
While that’s a somewhat decent argument, I know here in Washington County, the politicians and churches do a darn good job of helping folks get to the polls.
The arguments against bipartisanship are much more compelling.
• Candidates have to vote for the person and not the party;
• Political parties are irrelevant to the service-based positions in local government; and
• Non-party affiliated candidates have a higher likelihood of working together.
In a better electoral environment, we would vote twice for local candidates. The first vote would be to narrow down the pool of independent candidates to either a majority winner or the top two candidates.
The local politicians would then be elected by a majority without fail.
It might also serve to open up the pool of candidates to folks who would feel beholden to a party but see an incumbent as a roadblock.
But, most importantly, it would force our electorate to study for whom to vote.
An informed electorate is the best electorate. I firmly believe those who are not informed should stay at home.
It’s one reason why low voter-turnout counts are not necessarily a bad thing. Just because a person is registered to vote, doesn’t mean they should.
During this most recent election cycle, about 30 percent of the registered voters in Washington County turned out to cast their ballot.
That seems to be about the right number.
It also seems to be at the holding capacity of our voting places. I know I stood on line for a good half hour waiting to vote and, unlike the primary election, there was no confusion about where to vote and for whom you would be casting your ballot.
As I was driving back to the office on Tuesday evening after 7 p.m. the cars were packing the parking lot at St. James Episcopal Church. The voting would continue for some time after the polls closed.
While I’m glad we get to express ourselves at the polls on a regular basis, I wish a bit more thought was given to the process. Those thoughts boil down into three main categories:
• We should not be voting for administrative positions in county government;
• Local elections should be non-partisan; and
• An informed electorate is the best electorate.
Angel alert goes out to the people who worked late on Tuesday night to count the votes in our local elections. Happy Birthday to the Rev. Reginald D. Forte, Adjah Smith, Tempie Ann Hubbard Phillips, Lee Engel, Bob Robinson and Parker England.
Jon Alverson is proud to be the publisher and editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 335-1155.