March 3, 2009

Primarily Upsetting

All day various Chicago news outlets were discussing the low voter turnout for the fifth congressional district's special election. The fifth congressional district previously was represented by Rahm Emmanuel, but since he's gone off to help the president run the country, a special election was held. A special election. What a novel idea. Don't know why that wasn't considered for other vacant seats? (I'm looking at you Roland Burris!)

Some early reports said voter turnout for this special election primary vote was expected to be around 10 percent of November's turnout. It is disappointing to see that less than four months after thousands of people stood in line to vote in this district, only about one in six registered voters made it back.

What's even more upsetting to me is that I am one of the five that did not show up. I knew there was an election today, but never bothered to see if Rahm Emanuel was my congressman. I learned he was only too late to do anything about it. As Mike and I drove by our polling place on our way home from work, it was very much open. I had enough time to cast a vote (roughly 25 minutes), but hadn't done my civic duty. The only name I knew was that of the candidate my alderman asked me consider. And while I like Gene (he sends very informative, weekly emails), I can't go on his word alone.

In the end, I did not vote. I do feel bad about this and utterly stupid for not actually looking into this race beforehand. I had listened to plenty of news reports regarding this election but never once took the time to do my research. If I had, I would have seen that not only do I live in this district, but that there were plenty of candidates - probably one I would have even wanted to elect. One thing I know now as the result of this post is that the special general election is April 7. I will be voting then.

I keeping wondering though , should I have gone? Is it better to cast an uninformed vote than it is to cast no vote at all?

In the spirit of democracy, what would you have done: A) Voted or B) Not voted C) Gotten your shit together beforehand and made an informed vote.

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