Next month there will be an important election in which less than half of the electorate goes to the polls.
New York has an especially bad track record. Just 56.2 percent of registered voters turned out in the 2016 presidential election. The state ranked 42nd among 50.
In the 2014 midterm election, just 29 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls. That was 48th among the 50 states.
God bless America, or perhaps, God help America.
We get it.
There is a case to be made that the subhuman behavior we have witnessed in Washington in recent months, and the continued corruption in Albany, is not worth our support in any fashion. It disgusts us in so many ways.
But whether you show up to vote or not, we will have representatives in Washington and Albany.
Earlier this week, our editor received a letter from two members of the Glens Falls Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Action Committee.
They said they were volunteers trying to get folks to register to vote outside WalMart on Upper Glen Street in Queensbury.
That is dedication.
That is patriotism.
But they admitted to some discouragement about the young and older shoppers who were “disinterested and even disdainful about the value of voting at all.”
More than once they heard the words, “I never vote. What’s the point?”
But there was some reason for hope, they added.
Many people did register to vote for the first time. Some needed help with an address change so they could vote.
“By registering, they showed interest about participating in the democratic process and knowing that their voices counted,” volunteers Diane Collins and Jean Grant wrote. “They didn’t say those words, but their actions did.”
From our perspective, our country has some significant problems. We are divided and there does not appear to be a clear course on the road ahead.
Voting can clarify that.
Our citizens need to be more informed and more involved, not less.
They need to pay attention to the candidates and what they stand for and what the ones in office are doing.
They need to read, fact-check and educate themselves daily to hold our leaders accountable.
Having 71 percent of New York voters not show up at the polls in the last midterm election was a disgrace.
Let’s make sure that does not happen again.
Citizens need to be engaged, and then they need to vote.
That’s what democracy is all about.
Or have we given up on that, too?