Letter: Deep-seated cause of voter apathy is disenfranchisement
Ryan Summerlin April 8, 2014
To the Editor:
I read your March 21 editorial regarding transparency in government and its relationship to voter apathy. I thought your points were well made. But I think the more deep-seated cause of voter apathy among the majority of the county’s population is that they are disenfranchised from the voting system. According to the Grand County Clerk’s office, approximately 80 percent of the property owners in Grand County are second homeowners. This population pays the same taxes as any other county resident but, if their primary residence is outside of Grand County, they are not allowed to vote in any county election. The one exception to this law is that they may vote in any of the three special taxing district elections as long as they reside in that district.
As a second homeowner in the county, I feel it is a waste of my time and energy to engage in a “healthy exchange of ideas” with any politician knowing that I do not have the capability of backing up my opinion with a vote. And, I also realize that no politician is going to be swayed by anyone who is not a voter in that politician’s district. The fact of the matter is that no politician is going to give any credence to anyone’s opinion unless it backed up by the right of that person to vote on either that politician’s tenure in office or on the issue(s) at hand.
If you want a truly healthy democracy, let anyone who pays taxes have the right to vote. One of the founding principles of this country was that there should be no taxation without representation. Allowing everyone to vote once in any district in which they are a taxpayer whether it be at the federal, state, county or local level would seem to be an equitable solution to this problem as well as a stimulus to a healthier democracy.
Grand and Boulder counties