Voter apathy is the popular explanation for low voter turnout. As the director of publications at a public policy think tank, I am as far from apathetic as you can get. I withheld my vote on purpose for several good, responsible reasons.
I do not participate in the party primaries because the major parties do not represent me. In fact I resent the publicity head start that party primaries give to Democrat and Republican candidates.
I do not vote for politically powerful judges whose party affiliation and political philosophy are concealed. I would like to weigh in on a few races, but would rather keep the turnout low to make sure all revenue-increasing measures fail.
Members of the media in Oregon should stop cheerleading for voter participation (See for example editorials from The Oregonian, Statesman Journal, East Oregonian, Albany Democrat-Herald, and Corvallis Gazette-Times), and start respecting the decision of Oregon’s political homeless not to vote. As one who believes that we are governed too much already, my voting options are limited, but my civic participation is strong.
A version of this QuickPoint! appeared in The Oregonian on May 21, 2002 as the letter to the editor, “Respect decision not to vote.”
For more reading on this subject see the book Dissenting Electorate.
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