Voter apathy controls election
November 8, 1996
by Christie Reed
Editor in Chief
Well, it is official. The fate of our country once again falls into the
hands of Bill Clinton. Or, shall I say, the fate of our country has been
placed in the hands of Clinton by a majority of American voters-4,636,877
to be exact.
I am not bitter. It was a pretty sure-fire thing before the ballots were
even cast, but my problem lies with the 49 percent of the registered Americans
who actually voted Tuesday and the 51 percent who did not.
I can visualize a repeat of history. Upon his first controversial decision,
every American who voted for Clinton will look upon that vote with angst
and will openly deny they voted for him. The first mistake Clinton makes
in his next term will be criticized and the nearly 5 million voters who
proudly or reluctantly marked his name on their ballots will go into hiding.
No longer will there be Clinton/Gore signs posted all over the streets,
in car windows and in front yards. The hearty nationalism that took this
country by storm throughout October will dwindle until it disappears. The
presidency will once again become a routine that the American people watch
with a temporarily heightened interest.
I give the American people a couple of months before they begin openly criticizing
Clinton. I foresee a new line of anti-Clinton bumper stickers that will
find there way onto cars all over the United States.
Locally, 99 to 100 percent of the precincts have been calculated and it
appears as if some of the more controversial propositions passed with flying
colors. Proposition 209, to eliminate preferential treatment on the basis
of race, received 4,734,838 votes (54 percent) in favor and 3,983,542 (46
percent) against. The medical use of marijuana, Proposition 215, received
56 percent in favor and 44 percent against. The minimum wage increase, Proposition
210, was favored by 5,376,891 voters (62 percent) and only disliked by 3,341,168
The problem with these propositions is that (1) they never have to be enforced
by our elected officers and (2) many voters do not understand what may result
if they are enforced.
This blame is to be placed partly on the American people and partly on the
ads that ran for and against these propositions. While many voters failed
to research both sides of these measures, the ads only depicted one side.
If a voter is in the midst of watching a rerun and he happened upon one
of these ads, if that was the only information he received on that proposition,
he was not well-informed. As he cast his vote, the image of some guy hooked
up to a shock device replays, reminding the voter that Proposition 208,
campaign reform, is good because that politician who was hooked up to those
wires yelped as the proposition was recited to him.
It was difficult to find any information on propositions that was not slanted
or incomprehensible jargon. That left me destined to find some. At least
I researched both sides to each proposition, more than I can say for many
Also left buried in the election results is the fact that 51 percent of
registered voters did not take the time to cast their ballots Tuesday. With
the exception of Hawaii, every state saw a decrease in turnout since the
1992 elections. Voting is a very powerful right, and if one chooses not
to state his opinion that is fine, but these slumbering Americans are usually
the first to state their opinions after the fact. While they were too busy
to cast their ballots, they have all the time in the world to criticize
the results and blame them on the stupidity of the Americans.
Aside from the fact that this election resulted in the lowest voter turnout
since 1924, those Americans who actually sauntered to the polls need to
stick by their guns. If you boasted about Bill Clinton and had a Clinton/Gore
bumper sticker in your car, leave it there. Just because he won the election,
the big fight is still ahead and he needs the support of the American people.
I will give him what little faith I have left in him. With any luck, it
will not get any worse.
Christie Reed, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus
Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.