AZCentral is reporting election turnout of 20% in Maricopa county. They chalk it up to several factors, but what stood out for me was this quote:

“We held an election, and nobody came,” said Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, who oversees the county’s Elections Department. “Whether it was because they weren’t interested or didn’t have time, I don’t know.”

My dear Helen Purcell, people didn’t come because they didn’t know. They didn’t come because they didn’t realize that the election was the day after a major holiday. They didn’t come because they didn’t feel they had any choices in their district. They didn’t come for many reasons that need to be examined and dealt with.

I have voted in every election since I was 18. It is something I am very proud of. What I didn’t realize was that everyday people can get involved in the political process instead of just bitch about it. Last major election cycle, I attended a town hall featuring Harry Mitchell and Wes Clark. It was put on by PACE, which is an arm of NASW-AZ. Meeting and speaking with the candidates was exciting, but much more exciting was meeting all the everyday people who put it together. Legislative days, spending time at the state capitol and working with PAFCO has made it easier to see the political process as something accessible.

I wonder if more people thought our system was accessible, would they participate? Does the average person even understand our process? Do they realize that you can make an appointment and meet with your councilman, legislator, governor and air your concerns and priorities?

“The World is run only by the people who take the time to show up”
– unknown

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