Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tuesday's election

So far I've been eligible to vote 16 times in my life and every single one of them there has been something on the ballot that made me enthusiastic about taking the time to cast my ballot.

But going to vote in Tuesday's runoff for Labor Commissioner between John Brooks and Mary Fant Donnan feels more like a chore than a privilege.

Part of it is a convenience issue. There was no early voting in southern Orange County for this election, so I have no choice but to vote at the polling place. I usually leave for Raleigh around 7:30 AM and get back around 7 PM so that means I can either vote between 6:30 and 7:30 AM or in the last half hour the polls are open. Not the best options.

But the bigger issue is that it is just silly to hold a statewide election solely for an office that voters don't care about, whether they should care about it or not.

Whether Donnan or Brooks wins, there is no way either of them will approach the 290,000+ votes they each got in the primary. The last time we had one of these pointless runoffs June Atkinson won with less than 50,000 votes.

I can see why you want to avoid some fringe candidate winning with 20% of the vote in a 10 candidate race or something. In theory I like the idea of a candidate having to show at least 40% support to get the party's nomination. But given what statewide offices we're ending up having these runoffs for, I think the legislature needs to look at a bill in the next session to restrict runoffs to Governor and Senate, contests that a significant mass of voters might actually follow and feel like they have a stake in.

The best indication to me of the low interest in this race is that only one person in the last seven weeks has asked me if we were going to poll it. For contests that people are interested in we get that question all the time. No, we haven't polled it, but I will predict that Donnan wins with around 60% of the vote.


Chris said...

You know you can ask for an absentee ballot and cast it at your leisure from you home.

They even mail it to you!

Tom Jensen said...

Yeah I voted absentee all the time when I was at UNC and still voted in Michigan but this one wasn't high enough on my radar screen to make a request in time!

Anonymous said...

It is sad that few people voted in this race - who doesn't have a stake in workplace health and safely, wage and hour and other employment laws in North Carolina?

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