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Voter turnout offers important lesson about life
If Secretary of State John Gale is correct in saying voter turnout is a litmus test for our democracy, our litmus strips are kind of soggy with not much color.
Yes, voter turnout was higher in places like Lincoln and Omaha, which had significant bond issues on the ballot, but statewide, turnout was about 24 percent, only slightly higher in Red Willow County, which had an unofficial 26 percent turnout.
With 7,256 voters registered in the county, 1,894 bothered to go to the polls on Tuesday.
True, there weren't many pressing local issues, but the election was important to people like State Sen. Mark Christensen and challenger and former State Sen. Tom Baker, who will both advance to the fall ballot for the officially nonpartisan Nebraska Legislature. Baker has his work cut out for him if he hopes to replace his successor, who garnered 62 percent of the votes to Baker's 38 percent.
The vote was also important for Red Willow County Commissioner District 3, which apparently saw challenger Vesta D. Dack defeat incumbent Leigh T. Hoyt and former school board member James B. Coady.
Dack will advance to the Republican slot on the fall ballot, with no Democratic challenger in sight.
And there were dozens of other important votes taking place around Southwest Nebraska on Tuesday, votes that could have benefitted from better participation.
But the turnout offers an important lesson for all of us, students and veteran voters alike, as well as anyone involved in shaping a community: Decisions are made by those who show up.