City Government

Boise Voter Apathy Means 14% Is A Landslide

Each election we try to put things in perspective when it comes to the voting numbers game with the typical GUARDIAN SLANT.

Boise incumbents retained their seats with only 11-15% of the possible votes. Just divide the number of votes by the 108,000 registered voters and you start to see the picture.

Top vote getter Ben Quintana’s 15,261 votes amounted to 14%. Maryanne Jordan’s 14,092 was worth 13%. TJ Thomson garnered only 11% of the possible vote with 12,127. This boils down to the entire population of Boise being represented by councilors who failed to get between 86 and 89% approval–either by votes against them or people choosing not to vote. These 108,000 citizens are people who have voted recently enough to maintain their registered voter status.

To be fair to the councilors, three quarters of the citizens simply didn’t care enough about their community to go to the polls.

This election saw a turnout of 23% of the 108,000 registered voters–which is actually better than some races. That means 77% of the people who call themselves citizens and have voted in past elections DID NOT VOTE!

Comments & Discussion

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  1. pathetic turnout, but at least there were more people this time than there was when Hall and Bieter ran for Mayor of Boise, that had only a 17% turnout.

    This election saw a turnout of 23% of the 108,000 registered voters–which is actually better than some races. That means 77% of the people who call themselves citizens and have voted in past elections DID NOT VOTE!

    If you don’t vote you don’t get any right to complain, Period! You didn’t participate so you lose your right to bitch.

    Thems are the rules from here on out,
    You start in about politics and I ask you if you vote and you tell me no…. I’mma gonna tel you to SHUT UPPA you face!

  2. Thanks to all those who did vote against the two bonds that would have cost Boise taxpayers $50,000,000 over the next 20 years. And thank you Boise Guardian for your work to let those who do care enough to vote about the spending shenanigans of the Mayor and City Council. Based on the comments from the losing Yes Yes campaign organizers it sounds like they’ll come at us again with another approach, likely a tax levy which only requires 50% plus one. We have our work cut out for us.

  3. Quoting George Carlin: “I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that YOU created.”

    Most of the people would probably vote if the voting was internet based and easier to understand. When something complicated comes along people don’t want to bother educating themselves.

    People also don’t vote because they don’t want to drive to a place they are unfamiliar with, treated like children when they get there, show ID (a good idea actually), have a small amount of time to actually vote (polls may be open all day, but is that conducive to your schedule?) stand in terribly long lines.

    Another problem is civics is practically not taught in schools anymore and people have a lower sense of community. Change the voting to “like and add a dislike button” similar to facebook and you might increase voter attendance.

  4. B.G.
    You made a sweeping generalization about people simply “not caring”. I offer a dissenting opinion as the majority do in fact care, but due to extenuating circumstances, may not have been able to vote. Situations like working extended shifts at low wage jobs just to make rent payments, or possibly arrested for one of Ada county prosecutors favorite charge “contempt of court”, or possible lack of information on any of the parties to vote for. More often than not our system forces us to chose between the lesser of two evils, maybe the general public has become disillusioned by our countries lack of honor and integrity in our senior leadership.

    You sensor my comments that make sweeping generalizations about cops, I ask that you not make that same transgression against the citizens.

  5. “To be fair to the councilors, three quarters of the people simply didn’t care enough about their community to go to the polls.”

    As a candidate for Council Seat #4, my impression of the election results is that conservatives wouldn’t even vote when they knew they had a fiscal conservative in the race (Bill Jarocki).

    I was the ONLY candidate who spoke out AGAINST BOTH BONDS from the start. Fortunately the grassroots campaign against the bond was well in motion before last Friday when Mike Tracy announced he was sending out his postcard.

    From the very beginning of my campaign I put TJ Thomson on his heels by fighting his platitudes and social engineering ideas with fact and reason. I am grateful to the Guardian for posting my ideas. The daily newspaper never seriously covered this election. The editor’s latest whining about turnout masks the fact that his reporters were called off of the final three candidate forums. But, that’s my opinion.

    The Mayor admitted in the daily newspaper today that “when 64 percent of your citizens vote to tax themselves, that’s a big deal”. That’s exactly right. The incumbents raised your property taxes again this year and held out their empty pockets and asked the citizens to go (tax) themselves twice more. I can’t wait for the 2015 election.

    EDITOR NOTE–A gentle reminder to all. The election is over, so feel free to comment as a citizen on any topics, but try to avoid issues which have been decided. If the city comes back with other proposals the door will reopen, but not as candidates.

  6. The Team Dave administration would spin the low turnout as “voter satisfaction with the status quo.” Their happy subjects wouldn’t change a thing! (Well, except maybe for a Healthy Lunch campaign, and more open spaces and pretty new fire stations.)

    My youngest daughter will be 22 this month; she’s never voted. Her reasoning: “It really doesn’t matter who’s elected. They say what their audience wants to hear, and nothing really changes, no matter who gets elected.”

    She may have at least somewhat of a point, at least at the national level. But I think there are enough people with that same cynical attitude among the non-voters that they fail to get informed or participate in our grand democratic experiment. I believe we’d have much better government if people took the time to get informed, and participated.

    If people can’t be bothered to get informed about the issues and the candidates, I’d just as soon they stay home, rather than follow the herd to the polling places. Baaaaaa! Baaaaaaa!

  7. I think voting is rather easy, took me 5 minutes to do it, and I could have done it early with absentee ballots.

    Those who didn’t vote, may care, but not enough to make the minimal effort required to vote.

    I think politicians prefer voter apathy, that way the minority of people who staunchly rally behind said incumbents or bond items have a higher impact in voting when voter turnout is low.

  8. Rod in SE Boise
    Nov 7, 2013, 3:42 pm

    I could have voted for Mr Jarocki based on his claim of being a fiscal conservative – but – those who are fiscal conservatives are usually social conservatives as well and I would never vote for that kind of an attitude, even for City Council.

    Since I did vote, I claim the right to continue to complain, and loudly, about many of the things done by the City of Boise, Ada County, and the State of Idaho.

  9. We don’t have “majority rule” we have rule by the Majority who get up off their duff’s and make the effort to vote. I like what Washington State has done with mail in voting. It could not be any more simple than filling in the ballot and sending it in v. snail mail.

  10. I’m very happy that many of our most clueless people don’t vote.

  11. My Two Cents
    Nov 11, 2013, 5:46 pm

    Remember The Who song “Won’t Get Fooled Again”? Great lyrics explain voter apathy: Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

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