The End Of Democracy In Virginia
It’s been observed that populations recently freed and given their first opportunity at democratic voting, they vote in very high percentages. As people start to take their democracy – and thus their freedoms and liberties for granted – their participation decreases. And coincidentally, special interest groups who can influence policy by money, or have an easier job of energizing a base of special interest voters, quickly fill that void.
If states were graded on their civic participation, based on the statistics on the left (click on them for a larger size if you can't read them), Virginia would be failing. In a state with perhaps two thirds of the voters leaning Republican, still that would mean only about 10% of the Democrats turned out for the last primary.
National elections draw a higher percentage, and surely this November Virginia will see a substantially higher turnout, even though it isn’t a presidential election year. Still, as “all politics are local”, one begins to wonder what even smaller percentage of the electorate are active at the local level and thus influence the county and district level policies. An interesting take on this is given on Conaway Haskins blog - http://southofthejames.wordpress.com/ concerning one district in Chesterfield County. A small group of local power brokers will have inordinate influence – and access, and eventually power.
There are over 8,000 hours in a year – when Virginians can’t spare one hour every two years to go vote, well it may not be the end of Democracy, but it damn well is a wake up call.