Low Turnout Has Many Causes



My wife today accompanied a friend today to the courthouse on a joyous occasion.

The woman was becoming an American citizen after a long, arduous journey from oppression to freedom.

Armed with citizenship papers, the woman wanated to do one thing quickly: Register to vote.

This 40s-Something woman can’t wait to participate in her first free election in November.

Meanwhile,  nine out of 10 Broward voters choose to ignore the primary.

Broward had the worst turnout of the 67 counties in the state—10.7 percent.

Dade had a 19.99 percent turnout. Palm Beach County turned out 13.74 percent of its voters.

The statewide average turnout for a county in the primary was 20.43 percent.  Broward had half the average!


The causes are myriad.

This time around there were no interesting races to bring folks to the polls in Broward.

And Broward’s demographics are changing.  The county was once a retirement home. When Democrats wanted to pump up turnout, they just called out the condos.

No more. Many condo voters have gone on to that precinct in the sky.

They were replaced by young people, who don’t vote in the same numbers.  Or they were replaced by foreigners, who can’t vote.

Those aren’t the only reasons.

Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate and perhaps the most famous researcher of voter turnout, said voter participation has been dropping nationwide for more than four decades.  Here are some of the causes:

 (1) Declining civic participation in communities.

(2) Pushing major parties to the extremes, leaving voters in the middle feeling their are unpresented.

(3) Angry partisan fighting among incumbents, who have an inability to get anything done.

(4) Ugly campaigning which turn off voters.

“Tit for tat attack advertising…” leaves voters “with a perceived choice between bad and awful…” Gans wrote in The Huffington Post.  He denounced “a miasma of advertising that denigrates the entirety of American politics.”

Wishing a plague on both their houses, voters are refusing to vote in record numbers.

Gans predicts a bleak future because,  “The currently amoral consultant industry will ensure that their (ad) content will reach ever new lows.”

My wife’s friend, the new American, can’t wait to vote in November.

She believes it is a privilege, an honor.

About half of the rest of us won’t vote.

One reason is the win-at-any-cost consultants and candidates for soiling our most precious freedom – the right to vote.

This is especially true in Broward.


16 Responses to “Low Turnout Has Many Causes”

  1. Tamarac Mike says:

    maybe its because there are soo many democrats in broward… and like me they are sick of our own party

  2. voter says:

    Broward’s transient population allows many to not be the least be concerned or interested. Many are renters. They may perceive their time here in Broward as temporary. 31 municipalities does not make for a coherent fabric uniting citizens. Those condo dwellers you mentioned came from areas where civic knowledge and involvement was a duty and responsibility, so their new found home in Broward was just another place to get involved with on a civic level. They understood the power of the voter and voting blocks. I also believe that many running for election are satisfied that so few voters turn out. Why hold local elections in March not in sync with gubernatorial or presidential cycles? And primaries in early August? From statistics above Broward seems to be the most backward county in the state.

  3. Bernie Parness says:

    The blame for a horrible turnout belongs to the leader of the Broward County Democratic Party Mitch Ceaser who spent his time electioneering for himself so he could be re-elected to a precinct committee person. He has the responsibility and shirks it. He puts the onus on the candidates and doesn’t have a clue how to lead. Broward County voter turnout has gone repeatedly down under his administration. Just look at the numbers

  4. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> “The currently amoral consultant industry will ensure that their (ad) content will reach ever new lows.”

    Congratulations to Ahern for his win.

  5. Broward News Junkie says:

    You can’t blame Mitch for Israel and his thugs turning off voters county wide. If we dems had decent candidates, turnout at the polls would skyrocket. The problem we have is that it is the same old re-treads on the ballot. There is a reason why more people voted for county court judge group 6 than any other race…

  6. Faux Mikkkie Blovedere says:

    If I could have received more absentee ballots to fill out I would have fulfilled my palm card quota sorry Red

  7. Reprobait1 says:

    Just want to comment on the Israel note from Broward News Junkie.

    The tactics in the sheriff’s race were so overwhelming and disgusting, that as a Democrat, I’m voting for Lamberti. I’ll hold my nose while I do it.

    I’m one of the registered Dems that got the disgusting phone calls. If the Dems want to win, they have to get behind one candidate early on.

    The Broward Dems need to stop tearing our party apart.

  8. Guest says:

    I agree the slime balls tactics of the Israel group were pathetic. I will vote for Lamberti and will not participate in another democratic vote as long as the likes of Amy Rose is running a campaign. Her tactics are as unprofessional as see looks.

  9. Floridan says:

    I voted in the primary, but my wife did not. Her reasoning is that there were no competitve races (in our precinct) that she cared who won and that the ballot was overwhelmingly filled with candidates for various judgeships which she had no real basis on which to make a choice.

    I couldn’t disagree with her — how does someone who is not a lawyer or hanging around the courthouse have any idea which person would make a better judge? In fact, I didn’t even cast a vote for most of the judicial candidates.

    Better that judges should be appointed.

  10. Becky Blackwood says:

    It was interesting to see even the absentee ballot voters did not vote in high percentages. After all, their ballots were delivered to their homes. They have time to research candidates, vote and mail them in.

    I wonder, too, if candidates are prevented from discussing “real” issues with their proposed solutions, since there are very few opportunities to meet and reach large audiences, especially at the local level. Most of the time, these candidates are given 2 minutes to speak since there are so many elections being held at the same time.

  11. Democratic Justice says:

    Bernie, you’ve never had a meeting with any of your precinct people. When you live in a glass house don’t throw stones. You threaten candidates to get what you want or you won’t support them, just ask Mike Satz or Louie Granteed. You’re really a joke in the political arena.

  12. Appointment Erodes Democracy says:

    Floridian, if you dont know about candidates, it is your duty/mission/job to learn. There is no excuse just because you dont go to the courthouse. Those are important races and can impact your rights in general and specifically, and if you go in front of a judge for anything (including getting sued), you will have no excuse for later complaining.

    Appointment is a fall back because of the failure of the electorate to care and engage. Appointment erodes the rights of a democracy fought and died for. Appointment gives the power to put a judge in place (maybe for life) to a single party or person, a King. I know they say they go through committees and are interviewed, but the ultimate appointment reflects the bias/views/philosophy of a single person or group of like minded people in power. The Appointment process abdicates the amke-up of the 3rd branch of government to the other 2 branches. That is a lesser democracy.

    The suggestion that Federal life time appointments prove the success of that plan are not fully advised either. Yes, the crass politics and money are eliminated, in part. If you think politics do not play a role, however, and that the politics are not concentrated in a few, you are wrong.

    Your state judiciary is your 3rd branch of government and every citizen has a RIGHT to vote for that branch of government, like all others. The answer is a better educated electorate, not the abdication of democratic rights.

  13. Floridan says:

    Your state judiciary is your 3rd branch of government and every citizen has a RIGHT to vote for that branch of government, like all others. The answer is a better educated electorate, not the abdication of democratic rights.

    I actually attended a judicial candidates forum during the 2010 election and I left the session having no better idea of who would make the best judge than when I entered. Judicial candidates are restricted in what they can discuss, so those who don’t know the candidates personally are left with what? Age, gender, education, civic involvement, ethnicity . . . all personal qualities that hardly have a direct bearing on being a good judge.

    The role of a judge is not to reflect the popular or political sentiments of the moment, and clearly the need to solicit money to fund judicial campaigns is fraught with potential conflicts.

  14. Faux Mikkkie Blovedere says:

    To all my Lemmings
    Voter suppression is my strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote. It is distinguished from political campaigning in that campaigning attempts to change likely voting behavior by changing the opinions of potential voters through persuasion and organization. Voter suppression instead attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against the candidate or proposition advocated by the suppressors.

    The tactics of voter suppression can range from minor “dirty tricks” that make voting inconvenient, up to blatantly illegal activities that physically intimidate prospective voters to prevent them from casting ballots. Voter suppression could be particularly effective if a significant number of voters are intimidated individually because the voter might not consider his or her single vote important. “This is my expertise, I am a master of this in my community of elderly, senile and Alzheimer patients.” As your Vice (an immoral or evil habit or practice) Mayor I Will collect all your absentee ballots again in November.


    Faux MiKKKie

  15. Bernie Parness says:

    To Democratic Justice. I have area meetings with my precinct people and use them to phone bank for President Obama. We have been named the most productive phone bank in the State of Florida by OFA> What has Mr Ceasar done ?????? IN A word nothing. Are you too embarrased to put your name on your piece ???

  16. Disgruntled D says:

    I agree with Bernie.
    Mitch Ceasar does nothing to mobilize the party. He does nothing to get the vote out. He does nothing to raise money for the party. He does nothing to recruit new members. We have Gov. Scott because of Ceasar because if Broward had more voters at the polls two years ago, Alex Sink would be governor.
    Get rid of Ceasar.