Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Do So Few Voters Vote In Dallas & Fort Worth?

I saw that which you see here a couple days ago, on Facebook. I do not remember via whom on Facebook I saw this. I think it may have been via one of Elsie Hotpepper's ex-boyfriends.

That which you see here is a chart showing voter turnout in multiple major American cities.

I was not too shocked to see Texas towns dominating the low end of the chart.

Austin had the biggest voter turnout of the Texas towns, but was still near the bottom of the list.

So, what town is at the bottom of the list?

You are probably guessing it is Fort Worth. Well, that guess would be wrong.

At the bottom of the list, with the lowest voter turnout, is Dallas. Coming in second worst, barely above Dallas, is the aforementioned Fort Worth.

Why do so few voters turn out to vote in Dallas and Fort Worth? While other towns at the top end of the list, such as Portland and Seattle, turn out a lot of voters.

Well, having voted both in Texas and Washington I think I may have a clue as to one of the reasons for the low Texas voter turnout, in addition to the obvious usual reasons, such as collectively fewer high school and college graduates in Texas locations like Dallas and Fort Worth.

But, I don't think having way fewer well educated citizens is the reason for the low voter turnout in Dallas and Fort Worth.

I think it has to do with what is on the ballots. As in what voters are being asked to vote on.

I remember my first exposure to a Fort Worth ballot thinking it to be a bit odd. My only previous voting experiences had been in the Skagit Valley zone of Washington, where the ballots had a plethora of issues to vote on. Local races, local bond issues, state wide issues, as in multiple statewide initiatives, referendums, propositions and similar such things to vote on.

You know, issues on the ballot which impact the voter's lives in multiple ways, thus giving the voter a motivation to vote.

While in Fort Worth something like a massive public works project, originally called the Trinity River Vision, gets foisted on the public with no public vote.

But the Fort Worth voters do get asked to vote on something like a new multi-purpose arena, but not via a simple yes or no type approval.

Instead, in Fort Worth, something as mundane as voting for or against an arena is on the ballot as three separate resolutions. One resolution approving a fee to rent a horse stall, one resolution to approve a tax on parking, one resolution to approve a tax on tickets. The approval or disapproval of these three resolutions supposedly determined whether or not the arena would get built.

Even though this seemed a goofy way to vote for or against a new arena, voting for these three arena resolutions is the only time I can remember the approval of such a thing being on a Fort Worth ballot.

Usually BORING is the word I would use to describe what is on a Fort Worth ballot.

I assume, what with Dallas having a lower voter turnout than Fort Worth, the Dallas ballots also have a high level of nothing significant to vote on.

However, Dallas voters were allowed to vote on their version of the Trinity River Vision, way back late in the last century. Early in the next century Fort Worth pretty much carbon copied the Dallas Trinity River Vision, except for the part about allowing Fort Worth voters to vote on the issue.

The Dallas Trinity River Vision saw three signature bridges. So did the copycat Fort Worth Vision.

Dallas has completed two of it signature bridges, built over the Trinity River.

Meanwhile Fort Worth's Vision's bridges, being built over dry land, ceased being signature bridges years ago, and now have seen their construction stalled for over a year.

I wonder if what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle would have seen same pitiful fate if this Fort Worth public works project had actually been voted for by the public?


Anonymous said...

Another reason why Fort Worth voters might not bother voting is the feeling that voting does not count, what with all the reports of election fraud and vote harvesting in previous elections that it ends up not mattering because of the result being rigged.

Anonymous said...

I agree that I do not believe the elections are fair. Seems FTW city council decides what they want & it happens : i.e., Bicycle lanes.