We recently posted the voter turnout for the May 11 municipal elections on our Facebook page. Only 14.22 percent of registered Greenville voters, or 1,793 people, participated in the democratic process. We received quite a few responses, many of them frustrated at the poor turnout.
Some of the responses, however, were an indication as to why the voter turnout was so low. Various residents complained about poor information, inconvenience, and a lack of “advertising” on the part of the city.
When did it become the city’s job to advertise on billboards that an election was going to be held? It is our job as citizens to know when municipal elections are scheduled, who is running, and what is on the ballot. It is our duty and our right to know what is going on in our city and how our elected officials are behaving.
Besides, the newspaper published more than 20 stories and three editorials regarding the elections. We covered every aspect of the ballot. We even printed a side by side comparison of the charter and the proposed amendments. These stories were also distributed on our website, Facebook page and electronic edition.
Ignorance is not an excuse. Neither is laziness. At the paper, we hear complaints from citizens every day about the city of Greenville. But, when push comes to shove, Greenville voters did not step up to the plate.
Actions speak much louder than words. If Greenville residents truly want change, if they truly want to improve their city, then they have to vote; regardless of if it is convenient or well-advertised.
Generations fought and died for the right to vote. The Revolutionary War, the women’s suffrage movement, the Voting Rights Act of 1965: all of these are instances of tremendous sacrifice by American men and women to secure the right to vote.
Greenville is very proud of its military history and outspokenly supportive of military veterans. Why then do Greenville citizens ignore one of the rights these men and women are fighting so hard to protect?
14.22 percent is completely unacceptable. We thank the approximately 1,800 men and women who took time out of their day to vote. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. And, impress on your children the importance of voting.
As a community, let’s get that number to a respectable level.
The opinion expressed here is that of the Herald-Banner editorial board. The board can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.