Tuesday is election day, but you’d never know it around here. No campaign signs, no mailers, no robo-calling, no endorsements in my local paper, nothing. Not even redistricting has managed to generate any activity in most districts.
The outcome of Tuesday’s election is a foregone conclusion in both my county and my legislative district. The state’s redistricting commission, made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans and headed by an independent chair who holds the tie-breaking vote, has in its wisdom seen fit to rearrange the districts in such a way that incumbency is well protected in almost every case. This means most candidates don’t have to do any real campaigning, don’t have to meet voters face-to-face (although some of them do anyway), and don’t have to answer any hard questions in public. And that’s a shame. I want to know what my elected officials stand for and how they explain themselves to their constituents. And I want my neighbors to be as engaged in the process as I am. Otherwise my vote is pretty much meaningless.
What’s good for incumbency is in this case not at all good for local democracy. No wonder voter turnout is so low. If you feel like you can’t make a difference, why bother?