Sunday, March 19, 2006

10,800 voters cited for criminal negligence in Laurel, MD

There are over 12,000 registered voters living in our fair city. During each of the last three city election opportunities in 2000, 2002 and 2004, only 1204 people voted at least once. Only three hundred “super voters” participated every time. A criminally low 10% turnout.

I don’t understand why more citizens can’t find 15 minutes to vote. City elections are important. They determine which candidates will write our local laws and execute the city’s business. Laws that could raise or lower your property taxes. Laws that determine if a police officer promptly responds to your call. Laws that maintain your quality of life in so many ways.

The shenanigans in Annapolis and Washington attract swarms of reporters. They steal our attention. Almost 9000 city residents voted at least once, over the three state-wide election cycles in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

State-wide elections are important too. But their impact on your life is remote compared to that pothole in front of your house, the neighbors down the street that collect huge storage containers and junk cars, and controlling crime in your neighborhood.

I hope you can find the time to vote tomorrow. Nine courageous people have asked you to vote for them. They are not officials who live and work far away. They are your neighbors. They will return your calls.

The polls at the Phelps Center on Montgomery Street open at 7:00 am and close at 8:00 pm. Our election judges are quick and efficient. They are well known for giving voters big hugs and pinching cheeks.

Now, set your alarm clock and vote on MONDAY. It will only take a few minutes. Voting will help you lose weight, regrow hair in your bald spots, kill weeds in your yard and improve your odds of winning the lottery. At least that's what a candidate told me....

Thanks again for reading and participating in the conversation here at Connections. I hope you have found it useful. Watch this space for the all the election results on Monday night.

Warmest Regards,



Anonymous said...

I read the local newspapers religiously. They never tell how to register to vote in the local elections. They never say where the polls are or when they are open. The city of Laurel never mails out any election materials that I know about. I think the establishment doesn't want people to vote. Most people obviously need to be told about this because they don't know how to find out themselves. Have you noticed this?

A slightly concerned non-voter said...

Voting is a privilege. It is not a legal requirement. No one in our democracatic republic is forced to vote. This is not a communist dictatorship. Not voting is not a criminal offense! Get real! We don't live in Cuba or North Korea where you must vote, but you have only the choices on the ballot of saying yes, or saying no and go to jail.

I might vote if the city would send me materials, please! I'm registered for state and local elections, and do vote in them, but I don't have a clue about local elections. How to get to vote?

Rick Wilson said...

If you are registered to vote in the state, you are registered to vote in the city election. Show up at the Phelps Center after 7:00 am tomorrow.


Remember you must go to the Phelps Center, not your usual precinct.

I know it is not really a crime. But a 1% voter turnout is discouraging.

John Steinecke said...

Good thoughts, Rick, and a good blog, too.

You're right; city election turn out is disgraceful and has been for a long time.

In a weird way, the fact that our city is pretty well run (on the whole) might be one of the reasons that few turn out. If there were some burning issue, we might see more participation. Maybe as our city continues to grow and change, new compelling issues will bubble to the surface.

Nevertheless, mad props for taking the time to build and maintain this blog.

Rick Wilson said...

Thanks John. We need to keep trying to increase participation.


Lstover9111973 said...

I admit this was the first city election that I voted in, and I was eligible in the past three. However, I had no idea of the date of the election, I saw the signs in the neighborhood, but there was no material mailed to me regarding a city election.

The only reason I knew about the election this time was because of the Old Town Laurel message board. I think that if we want to get voter turn out up we need to advertise the election date and place a little more than just the Laurel Leader.

Rick Wilson said...

The Prince Georges County Board of elections used to mail the city's sample ballot to registered voters prior to a city election. They have stopped doing that.

I spoke with the folks in City Hall and they are going to budget the funds to send this information to the 12,000 registered voters prior to the next election cycle.

They will likely include it in a City newsletter mailing to all households to save a little money on the cost of mailing. I think that this is an excellent plan.

Mike Sarich said...

One person should be commended for an effort to increase our voter turnout numbers; John Gianetti called (through the magic of computers) over 4,000 households to remind them to vote. This was a great help to some I'm sure and he should be commended for it.

As a Councilman I'll work to make sure that there is funding for mailers and other voter outreach programs in the next two budgets. Once again thank you to the great number of people that did in fact come out and vote.