*This was pieced together after the May 21 2019 Pennsylvania Municipal primaries*
Who has campaign fatigue?
I would have to guess many folks do considering that once one election ends there’s roughly a 48 hour period before the next campaign begins and media forms a giant circle jerk of speculation to feed the viewer. There truly is no end.
There’s always an election: Presidential, Mid-Terms and yes even local, whoopsie I mean Municipal elections follow their own schedule and after this past primary it’s time for some changes.
No i’m not talking about dismantling the Electoral College to keep the Popular Vote, nope I’m talking about changing the schedule because let’s face it, no one cares about Municipal elections and ALL elections should be held every other year, including any Special Elections.
Why? Because no one really cares who becomes the head dog catcher and the cost is overwhelming.
In Allegheny County (Southwestern Pa) there are 952,750 registered voters and for the 2019 Municipal primaries a combined 157,264 of Democrats and Republicans cast their ballot. That’s roughly around 16.5% of registered voters using their voice.
Grant it, PA is one of 14 States that have some sort of a closed Primary. Yep if ya ain’t a registered “D” or “R” than take your ass home, you’re locked out.
In my neighborhood, a town of nearly 9,400 and 5 polling locations, roughly 30% cast a ballot. That’s disturbing especially when you figure in the cost of elections.
In 2016, phillymag.com did a little research and found out that in that year PA held the 5th most expensive Primary election, costing a few dollars north of $20 million. Give yourself a gold star if you guessed California was number one, costing taxpayers a $98 million.
$20 million dollars!
Might sound like chump change to most politicos, campaign managers and career politicians, but $20 million for a Primary can do some good elsewhere in a State begging for some extra cash.
That’s $20 million for any Primary in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, etc..
Nope there should a Primary and General election in 2020, 2020, 2024, etc..
Who wouldn’t want to save $20 million every other year?
Wouldn’t it be smart to combine the Mid-term and Municipal election cycle?
Then again, the 2018 PA Mid-term turnout wasn’t so great either.
I’ll use Allegheny County for example again, in 2018 there were 922, 080 registered voters and only 217,600 (23.6%) of these folks arrived to cast their ballot.
Guess people only care about the BIG election.
Ok so back to my Municipal Primary story.
I was invited to participate as a volunteer clerk for the 2019 Municipal Primaries (for some reason they asked me to return in November) and as I indicated, the local turn out was horrendously low.
The margin between Baby Boomer and Gen X’ers that attended was around 3 to 1 in favor of the Boomers. It wasn’t a shocker that more Boomers showed up, but in a community where you hear folks thumping their chest to almost everything Conservative and proudly waving “Trump” flags, Democrats outnumbered cast ballots over Republicans by 5 to 1.
OK I get it, local elections have no flair, there’s nothing exciting, hell even local media finds no drama when considering their coverage. So the turnout is expected to be low, but I was shocked by how low.
There’s no fun when working a polling station. No radio or television, taking a second to sneak peak social media or play a mean game of Scrabble on the iPhone, but yes the day is dull.
Hell the only excitement I had was when I asked two (presumably) nice older gentlemen for his ID to match to his Voter Registration.
“I know who the hell I am, lived here my entire adult life, blah blah blah”
I’m telling the grip on his cane was tight as I expected him to swing like Frank Thomas overdosing on Nugenix.
And the other guy gave me the “I’m friend’s with candidate X” talk.
Yes I believe in Voter ID but I also value breathing and these two would’ve taken me down.
However I can see how problems can happen at the voting booth during a Primary; if that cartridge is not inserted correctly and it’s very easy to hit the touch screen incorrectly, so far all of those who say the machine switched your votes, always make sure the attendant picked the right option for “D” or “R.” That’s the first thing to check before you cast your ballot.
Truly I believe we should do away with the whole Party label. Hell even George Washington understood way back when that Political Parties would divide the people and even thrive on the hatred of the other.
OK, that’s it, Slap the tap, pass the peanut bowl and pay your political tab.