OUR OPINION: Vote to end annoying, simplistic campaigns
Monday, November 1, 2010
Voting often is referred to as a civic duty, responsibility or obligation.
We believe voting is part of a continuing process that includes becoming informed about candidates and issues before casting a ballot, then monitoring the results.
The results include the performance of elected representatives and other officials, as well as the virtues and consequences of legislation and constitutional amendments.
Missouri Secretary of State predicted last week slightly more than half — 51 percent — of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots in Tuesday’s election.
Registered voters in Missouri now number 4.1 million people, including 105,000 first-time registered voters for this election.
The 51 percent estimate is not impressive. It also is not atypical.
Voter turnout in previous off-year elections has been similarly poor, numbering 53 percent in 2006, 51 percent in 2002 and 43 percent in 1998, according to the secretary of state.
We believe the demonstrated apathy among voters is one reason we receive such shabby treatment by the campaigns.
Apathy signals disinterest, and voter disinterest prompts campaigns to favor simplistic slogans and attack advertising rather than informative discussion of complicated issues.
A temptation among serious voters is to blame the candidates.
But the candidates understand, based on voter history, they are playing to half an audience. And that audience is not always attentive.
If attack ads, simplistic slogans and robo-calls annoy voters, that is precisely what they are designed to do.
Annoying voters is a way to get their attention and, ultimately, political campaigns are designed to get attention.
We have heard from many voters who are weary of annoying campaigns.
A way to eliminate them is for eligible voters not only to cast their ballots, but to insist they be treated as intelligent adults capable of understanding specific approaches to the complex issues of the day.