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As I See It

Work needed to get more people to participate in democratic process

Scott Robert Shaw

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The results of Tuesday’s election were rather underwhelming. Not who won or lost, but how many people chose not to participate in the democratic process. Turnout for spring elections tend to be small, and that was certainly the case for voters in the city of La Crosse. Turnout for the presidential contest topped 80%, even though the decisions of a mayor affect our lives significantly more on a daily basis. Predictions were a turnout of only 26%. La Crosse didn’t even reach that mark. Fewer than one fourth of registered voters bothered to cast a vote on Tuesday. Three quarters of registered La Crosse voters sat this one out. Fewer people voted in the La Crosse mayor’s race than voted in 2013, the last time there was an open seat for the job. That is despite the fact that voting has become easier and more convenient thanks to mail-in balloting.  In the end, barely 200 votes separated the two candidates. Who knows what the outcome would have been if even half of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot. As newly-elected Mayor, Mitch Reynolds said he wants to work to get more people involved in the process, which is a worthy goal. But based on what we saw in Tuesday’s election, it is going to take a lot of work to reach that goal.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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