What happens if you hold an election and almost no one shows up? Those who do, change the world.
That’s what happened on Tuesday. Here is the headline you won’t see:
91.5% Of Texans Said ‘No’ To Election
You won’t see it, but you should. Why? Because 91.5 percent of Texas’ registered voters declined to vote in the election that adopted nine changes to the state’s constitution.
For better or worse, silence equals assent.
As you know, legislative bodies require a quorum to be present before business can be conducted. In elections, just one person can participate in a city of millions and the election is as valid as if everyone turned out.
That’s why the single-digit turn-out of voters can impose debt on the overwhelming majority who don’t show up.
Usually, but not always. In one area of election law, we do have a voter turn-out requirement.
Under state law, a school district can turn itself into a charter district – escaping the public school mandates everyone decries. But before that can happen, there has to be an election. In this one instance, where a school district tries to escape state mandates, the legislature requires that 25 percent of the registered voters in the school district participate in the election.
Guess what – not a single such election has ever been attempted.
So a couple percent of the registered voters can raise taxes or impose debt, but to escape burdensome mandates we have a turn-out requirement. Makes perfect sense, right?
Stepping back, as citizens we should be less frustrated by laws that allow such things and more frustrated by the fact that so many of our countrymen just choose not to participate.