For a people that claims that the rights given to us by the founding fathers (the right to bear arms and control public lands for instance) are sacred, cherished, and to be revered, the people of Utah don’t seem to value one of the most basic of American rights – the right to vote.
Census figures released earlier this week reveal Utah ranks 49th (tied with Texas) for worst voter turn-out in the entire nation. Only 32.2 percent of eligible voters in the state – citizens over age 18 and not convicted of a felony – voted last November. If you are over age 45, you tended to vote. Only one in eight between the ages of 18 and 24 seemed to care enough to do so.
Only 20 percent of eligible Latinos voted, but 40 percent of Caucasians did. Men totaled 38.2 percent, women slightly better at 39 percent. Women in Saudi Arabia were finally given the right to vote last week – they still can’t legally drive a car! Do you think voting matters to them? You bet it does.
So why don’t Utahns take the time to take advantage of something people throughout the ages have been willing to die for?
Almost 27 percent are too busy (talking on the phone or texting?), not interested came in at over 16 percent (in the issues that impact your life – every single day), or were ill or disabled (over 11 percent – feel better soon). Nine percent were out of town (ever hear of voting early, on-line, or absentee ballots?), almost nine percent didn’t like the candidates (sorry, can’t think of an argument for this one), and another 9 percent forgot (been there, done that).
Many Utah Democrats don’t vote because they feel their vote doesn’t count. That is precisely how you get in the situation Utah is in – a Republican governor, legislature, most local representatives (except in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County), and 80 percent of your congressional delegation. That way just a few people get to decide what happens to YOU.
Remember the old saying, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”? As Utahns, we have plenty to complain about – so get out there and act like an adult American and VOTE!
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Source: US 2010 Census, Salt Lake Tribune