City Government

Does Anyone Care About Voter Apathy?

Top winners in the Tuesday GBAD election captured about 1.5% of the registered votes.

Not only were most voters in Ada County asleep when the Greater Boise Auditorium District (GBAD) votes were tallied last night, they napped rather than vote at all. Only 9,457 of the registered 175,849 voters (5%) bothered to exercise their right to vote.

We gotta admit $13 million is chump change in these days of government budgets with so many zeroes it takes a pointer just to count them. But does anybody care if we have a baseball park vs a convention center? The answer is a resounding NO!

To put things in perspective an honest look at the numbers reveals incumbent GBAD board member Peter Oliver was the top vote-getter with 50.17% of the votes CAST. That means a mere 1.6% of the REGISTERED voters chose to allow him a voice in how many millions of tax dollars will be spent and how downtown Boise will look in the future. Mayor Dave Bieter’s fireman pal, Jim C. Walker, garnered 1.5% of the vote in his victory. By the way, our three- term mayor was elected with 11% of the potential votes last election.

REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . 175,849
BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . 9,457
VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . (5.38%)

George Tway. . . . . . . . . . 2,861 (49.83%)
Peter Oliver . . . . . . . . . 2,880 (50.17%)

Vote for 2
Rob R. Perez . . . . . . . . . 2,142 (19.43%)
Jim C. Walker . . . . . . . . . 2,647 (24.02%)
Stephanie Astorquia . . . . . . . 2,168 (19.67%)
Noah D. Bard . . . . . . . . . 379 (3.44%)
Steve Berch. . . . . . . . . . 2,433 (22.07%)
John May. . . . . . . . . . . 1,253 (11.37%)

As usual we find it interesting how patriotic many Americans can be when it comes to “fighting for our rights” in foreign wars, but fail to exercise the basic right to vote.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I’m not a big fan of off year voting of any type. It allows special interests to target pet projects and ram them thru while nobody is watching.

    That has been a common tactic for school districts.

    I didn’t even know this election was happening. You know, mid May being that time of year when we automatically all dash for the polls.

    Apathy, yes your honor, guilty.

  2. At some point the powers that be (the voters) will make a change to move these “lesser” elections to November. There’s no valid reason (other than the statute) to have these in May- Primary elections being the exception.

    But what point will that be? If only 100 people show up, will that justify a change?

  3. While I agree with your thoughts, may I offer an explanation why some of us didn’t vote? I didn’t realize that I could! I received no notification that a vote was available to me, nor did I receive a sample ballot or candidate statements. As a registered voter, I received information on the last election (Fall), in which I did vote. Because I’m newer to the area, I don’t yet recognize the election cycles for Boise, and I’m just now starting to understand what GBAD even is. I follow local news regularly, and they seemed to focus on Nampa and Eagle voting issues; since I don’t live there and wasn’t notified, I assumed (incorrectly) that as a Boise resident I had nothing to vote about. Yes, people are ridiculously apathetic about voting nationwide, but for those few of us who do care, a little notification or a push in the right direction can go a long way.

  4. My Two Cents
    May 22, 2013, 12:15 pm

    How about not having elections all throughout the year. Have election day be election day in November. It is absolutely idiotic to think that people will turn out at multiple times throughout the year for “small” elections. And, frankly, it took me two weeks to even figure out what the signs all over town showing “GBAD” meant. It would save money at the county level too cause they would not have to pay to handle multiple elections.

  5. “Guilty as charged, your honor.”

    I didn’t vote. I didn’t feel like I was well-informed enough to vote. (The only thing worse than apathetic voters are ignorant voters.) I read the Guardian columns, but expanded convention space and publicly-funded baseball palace both seemed pretty unappealing. Maybe “cynical” is more accurate than “apathetic.”

    I even let my sister down. She expects me to have an opinion on everything, and asked for advice on the GBAD. I told her I didn’t feel I was well-informed enough to have a strong opinion on it.

    (I’m in TOTAL agreement that all public votes should be held the 2nd Tuesday in November, even-numbered years. I’d rather get informed and vote 20 pages of material, than vote 3 or 4 times a year for city, state, school board, county, GBAD, you name it. But that doesn’t excuse me; I dropped the ball.)

  6. David B. Hall
    May 22, 2013, 4:27 pm

    I would like to point out that Dave Bieter shelled out $150k in the last election. I spent nothing, $0.00 dollars and still took 26% of the voter turnout, which I think was still only 16% of the registered voters.

    There is a lot of apathy in Idaho politics, and those in these offices know this, they count on it, hence why they had an under publicized election in May.

    Honesty had I known sooner, I would have got my name on the ballot for this election.

    Without spending any money I got 4200 odd votes for mayor of Boise, I bet I could have come up with half of that for one of these positions.

    Oh well, good thing there’s still the Governor’s spot to shoot for in 2014.

    See ya then
    David B. Hall

  7. The government and TV stations do not make it clear well in advance when a vote will happen. Additionally, the court system uses the list of active voters to draft a jury, potentially causing lost wages.

  8. Pathetic! But the people who didn’t bother to vote will show up later to complain. All elections should be in November. Why spend money and employee time in elections office for an election in May?

  9. I read several articles on this election in the last couple weeks. The daily paper, here, boise weekly, and local new stations all covered the election. The coverage was just fine. Most people don’t care about convention centers or baseball stadiums. I do though along with my two friends I convinced to vote. Looks like the few interested voters in boise have spoken, and they want a baseball stadium. Just like parking at the airport.

  10. I am not sure election consolidation has done much for voter turnout. I live in Canyon County and went to the elections webpage and could not figure out if I had anything to actually vote on this time around. We elected to stay home and not spend the time and effort going to polling place only to find out we had nothing to vote on this time around.

    I do like to comment of having everything decided in November. The closed primary is a real turn off for turnout.

  11. Bikeboy. It’s the first Tuesday after the first Monday. Not the second Tuesday. 🙂

  12. We don’t need a downtown ballpark and I voted against it. It’s admirable to aspire to create and have a better world but Boise is just too small to justify it.

  13. grumpy ole man
    May 25, 2013, 9:54 pm

    Mybad on the Gbad, was out of town before I realized the election was scheduled, so didn’t get an absentee ballot. Poor citizenship at work.

  14. To heck with citizenship. We need a real war so we can have real heroes and parades. ( I have three cases of “Support the Troops” car magnets no one wants.)

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