Today is another important day for the future of Mississippi politics as Mississippians are currently able to cast their ballots for the 2018 primary runoffs, but a persistent problem looms over the state of Mississippi: voter turnout.
Just recently in the June 5th primary election, a historically low 13% of eligible voters turned out to the polls. 13% is an appallingly low statistic if you really think about it. That is 87% of qualified voters that chose to, consciously or unconsciously, decide against voting.
Since today is a day that we could, if we’re lucky, see a change in that number, I went out and interviewed a handful of Mississippians regarding their choice to vote or not to vote.
Jay Cooke, a Jackson attorney and father of three, is all about voting, and his ongoing approach to election days such as today largely revolves around him wanting his children to know that the concept of voting is and will always be a vital aspect of an independent community.
“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” Cooke said. “I have always taken my kids, from the time that they were little, with me to go vote…because it is that important.”
Many other citizens had a much similar response to Cooke; it was just put in a simpler fashion like “yes, I have voted” or “yes, I am going to vote,” but much to my belief, the more common, unsurprising response was “no, there’s an election today?” Another one that was quite popular was a blunt “No.”
Nobody knows the actual and specific cause or causes of the continuously low voter turnout in the state, but a possibility that was seemingly proven in many of my responses is that people simply are not aware of the elections. Another possibility is that some people are engaged in their daily activities, such as a job, and do not vote as a product.
A local millennial who requested anonymity, when asked about voting today, said “I did not vote today as I have been at work since 7 a.m.”
Many who find themselves in the same boat as this Ridgeland worker are not against the idea of voting. They just feel as if they do not have time. Voting stays a very influential action, but in today’s world, it’s just not convenient to some.
No matter the reasoning, the low voter turnout still exists, and as a product, the power of a person’s word means much more today than voting dates in the past.
“When you got to cast a ballot, you’re also casting 9 others because were virtually running at a 10% voting range,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said. “So, when you cast your ballot, you cover 9 other people, so you become very important.”
For those Mississippians choosing to vote this year, a polling location around you will be open until 7:00 p.m. tonight. A polling place locator is available on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ms.gov/PollingPlace/Pages/default.aspx.