There are 10,289,851 Californians who share this year’s Fox and Hounds Daily’s Black Bart Award — because they didn’t vote. They are the registered voters who did not bother to vote in the November Election. This is not a good thing, but since the Black Bart end of the year award recognizes the individuals or groups or even actions that greatly affects California policy or politics during the year there is no ignoring the impact of non-voters on our governing process.
The 42.2-percent turnout was a record low for a November General Election. As stated in the nomination of the Non-Voter, the low turnout is a sign of lack of interest in public affairs, not good in a democratic society that requires the people to make decisions. When so many refuse to partake that affects the policy decisions in the state and the direction in which the state moves.
It is a concern that when voters ignore public affairs the democracy can wheel out of control. One can be cynical about voting, as Mark Twain remarked, “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” But in truth, the lack of voting signifies lack of interest; lack of watching those who run the government. Voters’ non-participation while seemingly following along aimlessly as government does its business might lead to danger. Journalist Edward R. Murrow said, “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”