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The Meaning of 17%

While we are in a kind of post election lull, let’s talk about voter turnout in the March 8 election.

There was a decent amount of Twitter traffic about this election night shortly after we posted a turnout percentage.

For those who missed it, 17 percent of the city’s 420,000 voters participated either on election day or during the early voting period.

From the reaction to that percentage, a good place to start the discussion seems to be whether it is possible to accept the decision made by those voters as valid and still be alarmed that such an important issue drew so few people to the polls.

Is the turnout a red herring to divert attention away from a decision made by ground rules that partisans on all side of the issue understood going into the voting period?

Does the voter turnout somehow make the issue of schools consolidation less vital? Or is the low turnout an indication of confusion in a political scenario in which the terms of a yes vote changed even as early voting was underway?

Or is this as simple as it rained on election day and people didn’t want to stop on their way to or from work and vote?

The answer could be all of the above and more. It has been ten years since voters in Shelby County have had an off election year. And the next scheduled off election year is 2013.

Give our questions a spin around the block and let us know what you think. Even add a few questions to the pot if you want.

Dansette

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