‘We the People’ Shrink When We Don’t Vote

The recent elections pointed out some troubling trends in our election systems. Nationwide the turnout was very low, as it was in California. Locally, the trend is startling.

Santa Maria, which has the largest population in Santa Barbara County at 101,000 souls, has 27,556 registered voters. In this last election, 11,600 voted. That is 42 percent of all voters and about 11 percent of the population.Most people know little about city government. A cadre of about 200 people is all that pay attention.

In Lompoc, the population is 43,314. There are 14,197 registered voters, and about 7,000 voted in the last election or 50 percent or just 16 percent of the population. Only about 100 people in Lompoc pay attention to the city government’s ongoing business.

The very contentious countywide Measure P garnered 56 percent of the registered voters but, thankfully, lost. The North County voted in droves against Measure P as compared to South County again illustrating the great political divide between the two sides of the Gaviota Tunnel.

Countywide, Measure O received 110,803 votes, or 56 percent of the registered voters, and lost big, no thanks to our county supervisors who put it on the ballot.

Santa Barbara County’s voter registration is about 45 percent of a total 433,300 residents. There are 196,998 registered voters, of whom 114,106 cast votes, or 57 percent. That’s just 26 percent of the population

The story is pretty much the same everywhere.

Even UCSB precincts only turned out 17 percent of registered voters but as usual voted for Lois Capps and environmentalist-approved Measure P.

Our national Constitution opens with the words “We the People,” but today it seems that it is really “some of We the People” who are involved with the political process.


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