Aberdeen Editors Blast Non-Voters, Thank New Guy in Town for Running

The Aberdeen American News goes out on two limbs this week. The Hub City’s editorial board tells Aberdeen voters they have “failed” in producing a dismal 3.5% turnout for Tuesday’s local election. They then suggest this liberal blogger may be more interested in the civic well-being of his new hometown than most voters:

Congratulations to Brad Olson and Linda Burdette for earning new terms on the school board. Also to Laure Swanson for garnering a second term on the Aberdeen City Council. And, for that matter, to Cory Heidelberger, an Aberdeen newcomer who decided to challenge Swanson to create the opportunity for the community to discuss important issues. He showed an interest in the well-being of the city, which is more than can be said for most of Aberdeen’s registered voters [editorial board, “Aberdeen Voters Failed,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.06.03].

Creating an opportunity to discuss important issues—bingo. The newspaper has caught on to what I contend is the first duty of any candidate. We run for office not to gain power or fame but to lead conversations, to get voters thinking, and to give voters a chance to apply that thinking to a real choice at the polls.

I appreciate the editorial board’s recognition that newcomers have as much to offer the civic life of their communities as long-time residents. Such a welcoming attitude is essential to any community in South Dakota that is trying to recruit new residents to build its workforce, tax base, and cultural vibrancy. I also agree with our local paper’s assessment of the importance of participation in democracy. Whether we are voting, petitioning, or discussing important issues here on the blog, we all need to participate in civic discourse and decision-making to keep democracy from turning into autocracy or kakocracy.

10 Responses to Aberdeen Editors Blast Non-Voters, Thank New Guy in Town for Running

  1. larry kurtz

    Announce a run against Kristi, Cory.

  2. Good grief, Larry—can I get my referendum petitions done first?

  3. Shirley Harrington-Moore

    Run, Cory, Run!!

  4. Shirley, anybody running had better have you circulating petitions!

  5. larry kurtz

    Cory, curious whether your withdrawal from the contest created an atmosphere of apathy among the electorate: have you gathered data that might corroborate those suspicions?

  6. I’ve been phone people, Lar. They don’t seem to care much so it is likely that Mr. H created a big zone of voter apathy. Some people don’t even know he was running, or they said they would have voted.

  7. larry kurtz

    Cory, curious how much longer you will allow your work and mine be soiled by trolls.

  8. I don’t have data beyond the turnout, Larry. The weird thing is that there was actually slightly higher turnout percentage-wise in the mostly meaningless SE city council vote than there was for the district-wide school board vote. The people eligible to vote in the SE city council race were about a fifth of the electorate for the school board vote (about 4,300 voters in SE district vs. about 20,600 for school district). Four-fifths of the voters wouldn’t have been paying much attention to my race anyway.

  9. Lanny V Stricherz

    Hey, wait a minute. 4000 people voted, 3.5% turnout. Are you and the editorial board saying that there are over 100,000 voters in Aberdeen?

  10. [Wait a minute, Lanny! I think you got your Intertubes tied and posted under the wrong article. The turnout for the June 2015 municipal and school board elections was indeed less than 4%. The turnout for the library bond referendum was about 25%.]