Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Follow your civic duty; Every vote does count!

The convention­al wisdom is that the number of absentee ballots sought by voters who cannot make it to the polls on Election Day is an indicator of interest in the election. The fewer voters seeking to exercise their franchise in absentia is often seen as


Don’t fall prey to apathy on Tuesday. Make your voice be heard and help shape your community’s future.

And if those tidbits of convention­al wisdom hold true, turnout on Tuesday could be pretty dismal.

As of Friday, 5,755 absentee ballots have been issued so far by the Chester County Elections and Voter Registrati­on office. In 2010, the last gubernator­ial election, that figure was 8,008.

That’s a pretty significan­t drop.

Sure, it could be that fewer voters require absentee ballots, that fewer voters will be out of town or otherwise indisposed on Election Day.

Or — and this is more likely — it could be that fewer voters are engaged, and fewer plan to cast ballots.

There could be several reasons for that.

Some Republican­s aren’t thrilled with Gov. Tom Corbett’s four years in Harrisburg and the perception of his inability to get anything done despite having a Republican­controlled Legislatur­e. And there have to be some Republican­s who are still upset with the governor’s handling of the Penn State scandal, whether those perception­s are based in reality or not.

On the other side, Democrats may be lackadaisi­cal, believing that their candidate, Tom Wolf, is so far ahead in the polls that the election is essentiall­y over. Mr. Wolf has consistent­ly led by double digits in the polls, an indication

Despite the perception, your vote is still the most powerful means of keeping political leaders accountabl­e.

more of dissatisfa­ction with Gov. Corbett than anything.

It can’t help that the campaign — at least as it’s been played out in television ads — has been unrelentin­gly negative, with both candidates accusing each other of lying.

If anything, it’s an illustrati­on of where public perception of our political system has been heading in recent years, whether it be in Harrisburg or Washington. There seems to be more interest in winning political points than governing. And it’s turning people off. It also seems to many voters that their votes don’t count as much as the tons of the money pumped into campaigns by special interests to buy influence. This year’s gubernator­ial campaign was on pace to be the most expensive in state history — by a long shot — a result, in part, of the state’s lack of any limits on political contributi­ons.

Of course, the way to change that is to actually vote, to make sure your voice is heard at the ballot box. Instead, though, it seems that voters are feeling fatigued, that they are giving up hope that their vote can change the course of our state.

That, of course, leads to an erosion of democracy. It leads to candidates being elected — and claiming a mandate to govern — while receiving the support of a small percentage of citizens.

And the political system gets even worse in the eyes of a lot of voters. How to change that? Vote. Despite the perception, your vote is still the most powerful means of keeping political leaders accountabl­e and honest Exercise your franchise. Remind the politician­s on Tuesday that they work for you.

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