If you don't vote, then you have no right to complain

BD ran into an acquaintance from Scotland the other day, and the
discussion turned to the recent election - in Great Britain, not Dallas.

Would you believe that their 63% voter turnout was regarded as a low number?

When I showed him the dismal numbers from Dallas' election last Saturday, he was absolutely stunned. The idea that less than 25% of the residents in a large metropolitan city like Dallas actually bothered to vote was unthinkable to him.

So let me ask the question that he was too polite to raise:

What the hell was so important last weekend that you could not take five minutes to get out and vote? Where were you during three weeks of early voting?

And finally, why should anyone at City Hall even care what you think now?

If you don't vote, you opinion will not matter at all in City Hall. It ain't pretty, and sounds oh-so-elitist, but it's the truth.

And if you don't vote in the runoff, your opinion will matter even less to the eventual winner.

In a runoff, less than 25% of the original voters come back out to vote again. A small number of voters, feeling guilty for missing the first election, might come out.

Throw in school vacations, weddings, and dog walking, and these races might be decided by less than 20 votes.

Let's look at the numbers, broken down by neighborhood associations for easy reference. This story is not about who you voted for, just about who voted (or didn't).

District 2 - 20,778 registered voters, 3,106 voted, 14.95% turnout

  • 1204 - Cochran Heights NA - 1,584 registered voters, 193 voted, 12.18% turnout
  • 1212 - Lower Greenville West NA - 718 registered voters, 103 voted, 14.35% turnout
  • 1221 - Vickery Place NA - 904 registered voters, 149 voted, 16.48% turnout
  • 3208 - Mill Creek NA - 2,316 registered voters, 349 voted, 15.07% turnout
  • 3210 - Deep Ellum - 745 registered voters, 145 voted, 19.46% turnout
  • 3340 - South Side - 994 registered voters, 115 voted, 11.57% turnout

BD's list includes what he believes were key districts for Pauline Medrano and Monica Barros-Greene - large voter populations made up of urban professionals, urban pioneers and diehard defenders of their neighborhoods and interests.

Apparently all the alarm clocks seemed to fail on the same day? In BD's key districts, only Deep Ellum, Mill Creek NA and Vickery Place NA had a barely higher turnout (by percentage) than the rest of the district.

Let's do the math. If Deep Ellum and Mill Creek had turned out just 50% of their voters, and you throw in some more South Side voters (add about 1,200 votes to the mix), Monica would be at City Hall cleaning out John Loza's hidden donut stash instead of preparing for a runoff next month.

District 14 - 54,291 registered voters, 10,910 voted, 20.10%

  • 1224 - Lower Greenville NA/Belmont NA - 2,026 registered voters, 374 voted, 18.46%
  • 1229 - Vickery Place NA - 2,613 registered voters,594 voted, 22.73%
  • 1230 - Lower Greenville NA - 2,408 registered voters, 472 voted, 19.60%
  • 3209 - Hudson Heights/Swiss Avenue - 2,196 registered voters, 463 voted, 22.45%

BD is focusing on precincts around Lower Greenville simply because he knows them better, and two out of three candidates live in the area (Hunt and Ingle).

Though all voted better than the citywide average by percentage, note that these two districts have more than 2,000 voters each, compared to less than 1,000 for many District 2's precincts.

Counting only on BD's paws, a voter turnout of 25% in all these districts - residents who live and breathe for their neighborhoods' future and strength, plus fight a few zoning wars - would have given Hunt or Ingle the seat. Apply this to other activist neighborhoods and you see the snowball effect.

So what are you doing June 4th?

Reality check: There are many candidates who would rather you not vote at all than vote against them. NSA Hunt and Pauline Medrano are perfect examples of this attitude. They talk about the voter being so important, but they count on apathy and indifference to help them win elections. In a runoff election, this is especially true.

The other side of the coin is that you deserve what you get, whether you voted or not.

All voters are entitled to vote in the June 4th runoff even if they did not vote on May 7th. Early voting opens on May 18th. If you vote early, you beat the heat on June 4th.
Click here for Early Voting dates, locations and hours.

To make it more interesting, discuss among yourselves some candidate comparisons (now BD can get partisan)

District 14 - Political newbie who missed commission meetings vs an experienced leader who chaired really important county-wide groups, like DART.

Extra point: The world does not revolve around conservation districts.

District 2 - The only member of a slumlord family who does not have a criminal record (not counting stolen yardsigns) vs someone who leads and supports the community (not steals from it).

Extra point: If Monica loses, Ed Oakley will be the only gay member of the City Council for at least the next four years, and after that who knows.

And a slumlord becomes a member of Dallas City Council [see photo @ right: Pauline Medrano's campaign headquarters and official residence (per Dallas County Elections Department and Dallas County Appraisal District record for 2346 Douglas)]. Who you gonna call for code enforcement issues after June 4th?

But if you don't vote on June 4th - no matter who you vote for - BD will remind you of the traditional close to wedding services:

Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

By Avi S. Adelman under Dallas City Council , Lower Greenville