Yes, it's election day. Again. It seems like only yesterday that we were choosing between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown. And, just before that, between Martha Coakley and Scott Brown.
Now, the ballot booths are back: for local races, a state Senate race in Boston, and the hard-fought primaries for Massachusetts' other U.S. Senate seat. This is big: Five candidates vying for one of the most important political jobs in the nation. But turnout was expected to be low, even before the Boston Marathon bombing crowded out campaign news. Now, the projections are abysmal. It seems the birthplace of American democracy has reached its limit for voter excitement.
Are you suffering from election fatigue? Do you blame the candidates, the calendar, or the news cycle? Are you voting out of passion or a sense of obligation? Plotting your strategy? Or planning to stay home? Weigh in below in the comments, or tweet at the hashtag #BostonVote.
The problem's not the candidates. It's us.
Perhaps a tough winter contributed. Maybe people were worried about the sequester, or the prospects for the Red Sox. My pet notion: Even in an area that so loves politics, we are suffering from just a bit of campaign fatigue. Even I am suffering from it, and I get paid to care about politics...That is too bad for a slate of candidates that has been unfairly maligned as boring. It really isn’t their fault that we could use a breather.
Adrian Walker, @Adrian_Walker
As of Monday, no buildup
Sick of elections? Blame the Democrats.
Those suffering from political sensory overload can blame Massachusetts Democrats. They wanted to stop Republican Governor Mitt Romney from naming a successor if John Kerry won the White House in 2004. So Beacon Hill Democrats changed state law to establish a special election process to fill a vacancy. The new law didn’t stop Scott Brown from beating Martha Coakley, but it doomed voters to another special election once Kerry resigned to become secretary of state.
Joan Vennochi, @Joan_Vennochi
So over it
Hidden upside of a low-turnout election
Will strategic voters make mischief?
There'll be little in the way of strategic voting today. Open primaries--where Democrats can vote in the Republican primary and vice versa--are more susceptible to strategic voting. Massachusetts primaries aren't that open. Unenrolled voters can choose which ballot they want today and could attempt to make mischief but they aren't typically motivated to do so. And because both primaries today are competitive, partisans on either side had little reason to change their registration to unenrolled to mess about in the other party.
Peter Ubertaccio, @ProfessorU
Don't care? Don't vote.
Having the right to vote doesn’t mean you have a duty to vote. And though it may be unfashionable to say so, there can be perfectly sound reasons not to go to the polls. Why should people who have no interest in politics and pay no attention to candidates be encouraged to mark a ballot? If you don’t know enough or care enough to cast an informed vote, it’s not a mortal sin – or even a venial one – to stay home on Election Day.
Jeff Jacoby, @Jeff_Jacoby
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