Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Do “The People” Exist In A Political Sense?—Questions Spurred By A Low Turnout Election


Despite a number of important ballot issues and at least a few open City Council seats in Houston, voters in Houston and Harris County turned out at only around 10% of registered persons.

Here are some questions I have based on this terrible turnout. They are questions that would apply to any low turnout election— 

1. Does a political entity such as a city or a county exist in the most meaningful regard of a shared sense of citizenship when so few people vote? No wonder conditions in Houston are so awful for so many people.

2. Are candidates elected by so few people legitimately elected? Why should office holders not vote the way large donors and more affluent voters wish them to vote, when little counter pressure is exerted by an involved public?

3. Don’t you imagine elected officials hold the public in contempt over such low turnout?   

4. If you accept Aristotle’s premise that society existed before the individual, to people delegitimize their very existence by failing to take part in politics? Do “the people” truly exist in a political sense when turnout is so bad?

5. If county and city services would be temporarily suspended unless municipal elections generated at least 75% turnout, do you think people would then vote? I bet a 75% threshold would be met if folks were told police, fire and water service would be stopped until enough people decided they were really part of our society.

The above picture is of people voting in Haiti in 2006.  Imagine that people can line up and possibly face violence to vote in a poor place like Haiti, but people in Houston and Harris County and elsewhere in America will not come out and vote.   

November 9, 2007 - Posted by | Books, Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Politics | , , , , , , ,


  1. simon leis(sheriff hamilton co.) runs unapposed. there is not even someone to vote for no less no voters. the system is sick and broke and unless people organize and stand they will not get even the smallest changes to better the community

    Comment by bill brady | November 9, 2007

  2. Yep. It is up to the people themselves.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 9, 2007

  3. […] Questions Spurred By The Terrible 10% Turnout In Our Recent Elections By Neil Aquino The above picture is of people voting in Haiti in 2006. Imagine that people can line up and possibly face violence to vote in a poor place like Haiti, but people in Houston and Harris County will not come out and vote. Texas Liberal – https://texasliberal.wordpress.com […]

    Pingback by Archivex Haiti Blog » Google Alert - haiti | November 13, 2007

  4. I was in Mexico last weekend and as it turns out it was local election time in my hometown.

    Learned that during these elections, vendors are not allowed to sell booze. I also learned that when one votes in Mexico one’s ID gets stamped thereby letting anyone who sees the ID know that one has voted.

    I asked one of my dear aunts what if you don’t vote? She replied that when one presents one’s ID and it shows that one hasn’t voted, certain government agencies might not be as favorable towards you if your ID shows that you didn’t vote.

    Comment by Laz | November 14, 2007

  5. I won’t go as far as to say we should do soemthing like that up here. But nor will I oppose the idea.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 15, 2007

  6. Neil, did you see this story?
    Poll: NYU students would give up votes

    Comment by Laz | November 15, 2007

  7. Now I have. No surprise is it? You don’t value things that you don’t value.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 16, 2007

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