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Voter apathy wins again

February 25, 2011

Voter participation for the primary election fell to roughly 15% — a shameful mark for political involvement in Burbank, especially given what thousands of people in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other nations have endured in the pro-democracy struggles in recent weeks.

Apparently, the possibility of a sidewalk along a two-block stretch of Screenland Drive wasn’t enough to rile the masses, never mind ongoing reforms at the Police Department, development and traffic issues, city employee compensation and a potentially brutal budgeting process.

Politicos say the all vote-by-mail balloting system contributes to voter apathy because it lacks the traditional build-up to election day polling places. Turnout had been steadily increasing with the current system, but Tuesday marked a big setback.


After all, how hard is it to fill out a form and put it in the mailbox? Apparently, more people can’t be bothered.

Admittedly, even this paper was late in the game with its candidate endorsements.

Perhaps it has something to do with having to pay postage, perhaps there needs to be more Screenland Drives, perhaps the city should do more to advertise the election.

Seems without the “big day” looming on our calendars, the days slip by, taking with them any sense of immediacy or political atmosphere.

In any event, it’s time for this city to re-evaluate how it conducts municipal elections. Because whatever the reason, everyone can agree voter apathy does nothing to ensure local government remains responsive and accountable to its residents.

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