Eric Cantor’s defeat in the Virginia primary election whipped pundits of all stripes into a frenzy. How could David Brat be outspent 25 to 1 and still secure 56 percent of the vote? Opinions ranged from Cantor was too beholden to Washington interests; immigration reform was dead; Brat’s anti-corporate message spoke to those alienated by growing economic equality; the Tea Party was in resurgence; or money is not always determinant of results. Few commentators mentioned that voter turnout was low. Just how low and how important?
Only 13.7 percent of registered voters came out and only 7.6 percent of all registered voters cast their lot with Brat. Other than the obvious that Cantor lost and Brat won, what can be gleaned from such results? I offer that it is simply, but profoundly, “Voting counts.”
Register to vote. Get an absentee ballot if not able to vote in person on Nov. 4. In Leelanau County we have a grand tradition of more than a 70 percent voter turnout. We also have had several very close races. Your voice can only be counted when you vote. A minority of voters should not determine any election.