Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Well, Mike Was Right: Boston Voter Turnout Pathetic

Mike and I were chatting it up about the Boston City Council race yesterday, on LeftAhead, when he said that he was literally the only person voting when he came into his district's voting booths. There were, in fact, more election workers (2) than voters (1) at the time. Yikes. Today comes news that Boston had its lowest voter turnout in, oh, 22 years, at 13.6%. Yikes again. The Globe quickly brushes through a few of the reasons why that may be - here's their list -
Community leaders and voting advocacy groups blamed the low turnout on a number of factors. A cold, gray drizzle blanketed much of Eastern Massachusetts for most of the day. And for the first time, there was no preliminary election this year to take the temperature of the electorate and inspire voters to rally behind vulnerable candidates. More broadly, it marks a further decline in Boston's storied culture of local political involvement, in which ward-level politics has been a crucial part of the community fabric.

But I have to wonder. Shouldn't "lack of media attention" be thrown on that list? Am I being a bit cynical here if I think a certain reporter or two neglected to mention that in the article for some particular reason? If the Globe really cares about voter turnout, it has a very large power to be a huge source of information for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in Boston to learn why the race is important and about the actual issues within the race. A lot of people don't vote because they don't know anything about the candidates who are running - I'm guessing a certain, widely printed newspaper could have done something about that. The Globe could have been running stories about the City Council every day in their City Section, but failed to do so. Later on in the article, the Globe unearths an ancient city councilor who talked about how there was so much concern about the race that he used to run against upwards of 40 people at the same time. I bet the Globe ran a lot more news about city council race back then.

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