As originally published in the Record Journal Sunday, September 27th, 2009
It was also cross posted to my personal blog – From the Mind of Jason Zandri
The item regarding the Charter Revision vote is out of date and no longer relevant but the rest of it as timely as it ever was.
According to some research I have done recently, in the 2008 Presidential election the number of Wallingford people registered to vote aged 18 to 30 that came out and voted was about 2,800.
For people aged 60 to 72 that number was a little more than 4,000.
Both age sets encompass a span of 12 years.
In 2008, 22,000 of the nearly 26,000 registered voters in Wallingford generated an 85 percent voter turnout rate.
In the 2007 local election the number of people aged 18 to 30 that came out to vote in Wallingford was about 500.
Of the nearly 4,200 people aged 18 to 30 that were registered to vote only 500 showed up—that is a paltry 12 percent.
For people aged 60 to 72 that number was about 2,800 out of 4,700 or 60 percent.
When we talk about the impact for better or worse of the largest voting block the discussion always focuses around the older folks but it is not just because they are larger in size (as they are so by only about 500 voters) but rather due to the fact that they show up in greater numbers. In order to get to 2,800 voters showing up in a voter block for the 2007 local election you have to include everyone aged 18 to 47 — a bracket of 29 years.
That is a total of 11,400 registered voters to yield the same 2,800 turnouts.
Let me say it again— you have to leverage 11,400 registered voters from the 18 to 47 demographic to get the same turn out number of people aged 60 to 72 where 2,800 out of 4,700 showed up.
2,800 people aged 60 to 72 out of 4,700 is 60 percent.
2,800 people aged 18 to 47 out of 11,400 is 25 percent.
I understand that the numbers in total drop below 50 percent for local elections; in 2007 voter turnout was 46 percent.
The reason for this is mainly due to the younger generation of people not showing up.
This is especially concerning tome as a parent of four little children. At 40 years old I am in with a group of people that seem not to be willing to take control of their own destiny for themselves or their families.
Say whatever you want about how you can’t change things, politics is all dirty and it caters only to this group or that group or whatever— it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy when you don’t show up to vote.
I feel that local elections impact you more than any other election you could participate in. All the voters are from Wallingford, there is no other election that you could have a greater impact on by just voting.
In a Presidential election you are casting your important vote among millions of others; in Wallingford it is one vote of about 12,000 or so.
Your locally elected officials directly affect everything from what you are charged in taxes by way of the budget and what allocations get handed off to support the schools that your children are attending and so on. They provide the platform and funding for or removing it from all the local services you may use.
There are many changes offered to the voters in the 2009 election from the incumbents that are running for office again to all the newcomers throwing their hats into the ring.
There are changes being proposed to the Town Charter. This document dictates the guidelines of how elected officials are to discharge their duties in service to you and the town and it is the first time any changes are being offered in 18 years.
You as a voter directly get your say as you get the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” to each of the proposed changes.
Democracy at its best— all you need to do is show up.