With the state sanctioning of voting by mail due to the pandemic and for the convenience of all currently registered voters, you are now able to fill out your ballot while sunning in your back yard, lying in bed, or even while sitting on your bathroom throne. Unfortunately, the sanctity of the polling booth has been lost.
Wanting to get more voter participation is quite commendable. But, with over 80% of our local electorate participating, it’s beginning to look like the cost of running future local city council campaigns may have gone from a reasonable $15K to $20K, to being well over $80K. It will cost this much to send out the campaign materials containing the candidate’s message to all the possible voters.
This sudden, geometrical increase in campaign costs probably will leave many fine, local candidates without much of a chance to participate, let alone, challenge an incumbent, or actually win a council seat.
If local candidates really want to have a chance of becoming a council member, they would have to raise much more in funding than what usually comes from local grass-roots supporters. In order to raise enough, they might have to look outside our city and accept campaign contributions from well-heeled individuals or (PACs) political action committees.
The question comes to mind, that if more voter participation is a virtuous goal, do we really want to accept the consequences of having local candidates look for outside money from individuals or PACs who want to buy controlling interest in our local politics?