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MCCULLOUGH: What if you had an election and no one came?

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

Well, I was wrong.

I know it's hard to believe, but it happens.

Last week, I predicted that people were fed up enough with the state of the world that they would turn out in droves at the polls, that this off-year would be different.

No such luck.

This off-year brought the usual vote totals: 493 to 390. 193 to 187. Some were lower than that.

In the little town of Statham, the voter turnout was double that of 2007, but it was still only 21 percent. In one city a Daily Post sister paper covers, one person got elected with 44 votes. The loser only got seven.

Let me repeat that. The loser only got seven votes.

How hard is it to garner seven votes? Your immediate family and a couple of neighbors puts you at seven. People just accidentally voting for you puts you at seven.

You could literally win an office in some of these municipalities just by getting enough friends to vote for you. But then again, maybe you can't even do that.

The Daily Post's Word on the Street question this week was "Did you vote in this week's election?" Answers included comments like these:

• "No I didn't. I've only been here a couple of months and I didn't know the candidates so I figured no vote was better than the wrong vote."

• "I didn't. I did not know about the election until it was too late."

• "I didn't. I was busy."

Thank God that Thomas Jefferson wasn't too busy to write the Declaration of Independence. I sure am glad George Washington wasn't too busy to lead the Continental Army. Good thing Benjamin Franklin didn't miss a meeting because he didn't know about it.

Just when I think the level of voter apathy can not possibly surprise me, over the top it goes. Everyone is too busy and too distracted. The folks who make the majority of the decisions that affect local life, well, we'll just let the retired people and uber-patriots make those decisions for us.

It truly angers me. I don't live within the city limits of my town, so I was a little peeved that I couldn't vote. But it seems that most people who have the option just don't care.

That apathy works for the little candidate, though. If your dreams of public service go no further than your little corner of the local burg, then there's no sense wasting thousands or millions of dollars campaigning for a state or national office. No, if being illustrious potentate of Smalltown is your only political goal, then it would seem all you have to do is just make sure to tip well at the diner and tell funny jokes at the barber shop. Depending on your town, making a few dozen friends can put you into office.

Staying there, of course, may be a different story.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.