Pursuant to a conversation some of us had earlier about the election results, our own Doug Ross took it upon himself to crunch some numbers. And what he came up with was appalling.
Here’s his spreadsheet. Read it and weep. I almost did.
As you know, I get thoroughly disgusted at the idea that anyone, anywhere in this nation, would cop out of his duty as a citizen to the extent of voting a straight party ticket. That an American citizen, much less a fellow South Carolinian, would completely forego the responsibility of carefully considering each candidate, and surrender his precious birthright to anything so low and destructive as a political party — letting the party choose and think for him, on the most important decisions he must make as a citizen — is utterly shocking to me.
I don’t think the straight-party option should exist on ballots. It should be constitutionally banned. Short of that, I think the device should be used as a test to see whether you’re ready for the responsibility of voting: Choose the straight-ticket option, and your entire ballot should automatically be thrown out. If you can’t be bothered to think about each candidate and each position, you don’t deserve the franchise.
Given my thoughts on the matter, you can imagine my horror at the numbers Doug put together (based, I think, on the election commission’s numbers — Doug can elaborate on that).
According to Doug’s spreadsheet, almost half — 49 percent — of all voters in South Carolina Tuesday chose the straight-ticket option. Half of our fellow citizens just… couldn’t be bothered… to carefully consider each decision with which they were entrusted. They just made one decision — to not make any decisions for themselves, leaving them all to a party.
Twenty-three percent of them chose straight Republican; 25 percent went straight Democratic.
The numbers choosing a straight-party vote were particularly horrible in poorer, more rural counties, where the preference was usually Democratic. In Lee County, 72 percent of ballots were straight-ticket. The percentages weren’t as bad in the suburbs, but the raw numbers almost were.
Why, oh why, do people even bother to register to vote, if this is all they’re going to do?