Calhoun Countians will be offered the opportunity to go to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and make their selection of who they want to represent them in county and state government, but the unfortunate reality is almost half of those eligible to vote won’t.
In the last county election in 2007, only 57% of those eligible to vote actually participated.
I couldn’t begin to guess at the number of reasons 43% of our fellow citizens, age 18 and older, declined to participate in what should be one of the most cherished rights of being an American.
Just the other day I was visiting with L.D. Dickey for an upcoming story in The Journal. Mr. Dickey, 96, was sharing with me his experience storming the beaches of Normandy during World War II where he was shot in the arm on his third day in battle.
“I’ve seen a lot of things. War is a horrible thing,” Mr. Dickey said. “But I’m glad we were there, or we might be living under a dictator right now.”
That was Mr. Dickey’s point. There are many things you can say, but it all comes down to freedom. It’s taken for granted here, because it’s all those of us born in this country have ever known, but it’s not taken for granted around the globe.
The opportunity to have a voice in who leads your law enforcement, who leads your schools, who manages your tax money, who leads our court systems, and who participates in all the other government functions is a truly precious right that most of the world doesn’t experience.
What gets truly frustrating are many of the very people who will complain about actions of the board of supervisors, who will criticize the sheriff’s department, courthouse personnel, the school district and of course state government, are among this 43% that didn’t bother to vote in the election.
In Calhoun County this year we have 37 local candidates competing in 13 different races.
We have races for sheriff on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.
District Five Supervisor has contested races in both party primaries.
Mississippi’s next Lieutenant Governor, for all intents and purposes, will be decided on Aug. 2 in the Republican Primary in what many consider a wide open race between Billy Hewes and Tate Reeves for arguably the most powerful position in state government, at least without Haley Barbour in the governor’s mansion.
Speaking of the governor, there are contested races in both party primaries as nine candidates are vying to become the state’s next leader.
Calhoun Countians have an opportunity to cast a vote for a new state senator in district eight. It’s the first time in 15 years this seat has been open due to the death of longtime senator Jack Gordon of Okolona.
There’s a lot on the line on Aug. 2, too much for half of our citizens not to participate.
You may email Joel McNeece at firstname.lastname@example.org