Double-majority doesnt benefit citys majority
- Pamplin Media
- West Linn Tidings - Opinion
The recent election results on the question of replacing the local option police levy demonstrate too painfully the flaws in one of the state's statutes.
Even though more than 4,800 registered voters (72 percent of those who voted) said they want to keep police services at the present level, the measure didn't gain approval.
Instead of the more than 6,600 who chose to vote, it was the other 8,100 registered voters who didn't return a ballot who prevailed. Every ballot not returned was, in effect, a no vote.
The state's double-majority law flies in the face of a democratic society, and should be revised or repealed.
The most interesting characteristic about this ridiculous law - using the recent West Linn ballot as an example - is that if 736 more voters had cast a ballot marked 'No,' the measure would have been approved.
Our democracy was formed on the will of the majority, as long as the minority is given the right to be heard.
Since when does apathy or indifference equate to democracy? A democratic society needs - yes, requires - participation. That could mean doing research, asking questions, discussing or debating. But when it is time to decide, participation means casting a ballot.
No, we're not so naive that we assume everyone will always vote in every election. But since democracy requires participation, its choices should be left to those who participate - to those who possess the most interest and knowledge on each issue.
We realize there are a few decisions that should require a higher degree of approval, such as overturning a Presidential veto, but for 99 percent of the choices that a society or community must make, the majority of those who vote should prevail.
With the double majority law, those who choose to avoid being a part of the democratic process now possess an exorbitant amount of power, and hold an iron fist over the entire community.
We urge city leaders and local residents to influence their legislators to repeal or revise this inappropriate law.
And for the registered voters of West Linn who did not turn in a ballot this month, we urge all to make a special effort to vote on the police levy before May 15. Ballots should be in the mail in late April, and it only takes one stamp or a quick stop at the library to become a part of the process.
The choice of voting or not voting is a personal decision, but the results of that choice affect everyone in the community - even those who are not allowed to vote. It is, therefore, a choice that cannot be made for purely selfish reasons - especially not for apathy or indifference.
The benefits of living in a democracy come with a price. Let's all contribute our share of its cost.