Nobody Cares About Voting Anymore - NBC New York

Nobody Cares About Voting Anymore

Low turnout in Virginia and California echoes widespread perception that democracy is dull and uncool

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    Empty polling places are the new norm, now that everybody has decided that voting is kind of lame.

    Back when we were youngsters, all the cool kids drove hot rods and listened to Chuck Berry and impregnated each other in quaint municipal parks, when they weren't busy doing the coolest thing of all: voting. But now it appears that people just don't care to vote anymore. What happened, America?

    Witness the tragedy happening right now, today, in the great state of Virginia. An exciting primary pits the Democrats Terry McAuliffe (a carpetbagging doofus who likes to drink rum on the news), Brian Moran (some other guy), and Creigh Deeds (another guy) against each other in a three-way Death Match:

    Polling stations in McLean, Arlington and Alexandria looked more like ghost towns as poll workers outnumbered voters three to one during what was supposed to be the before-work rush around 8 a.m.

    Just a few weeks ago, we saw a similar horror show in California. The Golden State is probably the most vote-happy in the union, dragging its citizens to the polls every few months just to annoy them. And it works! Voters were so annoyed that they decided to just stay home on May 20 and floss the cat.

    As Californians headed home from work, many continued to bypass the polls in what has been a special-election day marked by extremely light voter turnout and expressions of frustration and ambivalence among voters confronted with complicated budget-related propositions.

    By 4 p.m., voter turnout in Los Angeles County was 11.57%. In a comparable statewide election in 2005, turnout had reached 27% by the same time.

    Sure, people turned out for the presidential election last November -- but that's just because the candidates were a guy who played Stevie Wonder songs at his rallies and a woman with a fancy hairdo.

    So what can we learn from today's sad situation in Virginia? Number one, Terry McAuliffe should not run for public office because he clearly has a dampening effect on turnout. Number two, every political campaign should be obliged to play Stevie Wonder songs as often as possible.

    And number three, we must remember that scarcity is the key to ginning up demand. Remember how excited everybody was to buy a Cabbage Patch Kid or a Tickle Me Elmo or an iPhone back when they were so hard to get ahold of? Exactly. In a similar spirit, we must hold elections no more frequently than once every six years -- for the sake of our democracy.

    Pollster Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.