As of Friday, August 17, 2018
Once again, elections in Yakima County drew well under 50 percent participation. It was more like 30 percent.
Most people still refer to it as voter turnout. That’s what it was when we had to go to a booth and vote.
Turnout was much higher in those years than participation is now, well over 50 percent in some years.
Concerned about low turnout then, politicians in Olympia forced this state to vote by mail. Participation went down. This year they decided to pay the postage for the voters because, for the unfair lack of a stamp, people weren’t voting. That didn’t change things much.
There may be a message to the politicians in all of this. Quit trying to guess what the voters need or want.
Fifty years ago, there was excitement as election time neared. Voters watched the calendar to make sure they didn’t miss election day.
Election day was exciting. You had just that one day to vote. You got there on time or you were out. While you didn’t know for whom your neighbors voted, you visited in the voting lines. For some people it was as much a social event as a civic duty.
No matter how we got here, our elections are what they are, which, oddly enough, gives every candidate a shot to win in November. That’s if that candidate can figure out a winning formula and execute it.
The most surprising, if not most impressive result of the primaries was Republican Jeremie Dufault knocking out incumbent David Taylor, a Republican, in the 15th District House seat No. 2 race. Whatever his formula was, he moved people who voted for Taylor before in a dramatic way.
Dufault had a campaign team, but he left nothing to chance. He visited every home he could and delivered his message himself.
For many voters, that is the key. When the actual candidate stops at their home they listen and remember. When they sit down to fill out their ballot, they recall, “Well, this is the one who asked for my vote.”
According to the elections office in Yakima, there will be about 58,000 registered voters for 15th District races in November. There will be about 115,000 for county races, such as the contest for county sheriff.
That means that second-place finishers in the primaries have a lot of voters they can move. Democrats Benjie Aguilar (Senate), A.J. Cooper (House) and Jack McEntire (House) have about 40,000 voters who weren’t moved for the primaries. Republican Nolan Wentz (sheriff) has about 80,000 voters who weren’t moved for the primaries.
Whatever formula you choose for your campaign, consider this: If they see you speaking, they can trust those are your words. They can’t have the same level of trust if your door-knocker is doing the speaking.
Ted Escobar is the managing editor of the Daily Sun News.