Another election. Another pathetic turnout of voters. And more hand-wringing about how little we cherish the precious right to cast our vote.


Another election. Another pathetic turnout of voters. And more hand-wringing about how little we cherish the precious right to cast ballots for our leaders and to decide important issues.

Primary elections always draw lesser turnouts. And in Ohio, there were no serious primaries for statewide races.

Both Governor candidates -- incumbent Republican John Kasich and Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald -- had no or no meaningful competition.

In Cuyahoga County, there was a significant issue on the ballot.

Voters had to decide whether to renew an existing tax on cigarettes and alcohol to pay for repairs to sports facilities. It wasn't a tax increase. But there was a lively debate about the tax.

Supporters argued it was important to maintain publicly owned facilities in major league shape that would would draw more fans and bring more business, jobs and tax dollars downtown.

And defeating it ,might require the city and county to take money out of general fund budgets to cover lease-obligated repairs.

0pponents argued taxpayers in a struggling region, losing population and good-paying jobs had done enough to pay to build stadiums for big-bucks sports teams and wealthy owners. And they suggested possible alternatives that did not keep tapping one county's smokers and drinkers.

There was an important race to decide the Democratic candidate to head the county's still-fledgling reform government.

And there were a host of other school and city issues and primaries for local offices, state legislators and Congress.

Cuyahoga County Elections Board boss Pat McDonald kept lowering projected turnout figures from 28 to 26 to 23 percent.

The last figure was made on Tuesday, despite a day of election-friendly sunny weather. An estimated 23 percent, even with early by mail voting that requires little or no effort.

Do voters not care? Do they believe their ballot does not make any difference?

Or are they convinced that government's actions won't mean much to them no matter who they elect. Perhaps they are just turned off by the entire political process.

In any case, democracy is not meant to be a spectator sport.

And in a country that believes its government is a model for other countries to emulate, here is a disturbing fact.

In a recent survey, the United States ranked 120th of 169 countries that keep data for voter turnout, coming in behind the Dominican Republic.

Maybe a change in how parties draw political boundary lines would help. Maybe reforms that end winner-take-all outcomes would too..

There are many reasons to be disenchanted with our government. And whether it's a cause or effect, the lack of engaged , concerned voters is one of the biggest..

Follow Tom Beres on Twitter @TomBeres

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