As midterms elections go, we can do better than 2014.
Nationally, that November’s election marked the worst voter turnout in 72 years.
Overall, the turnout was 36.3 percent; only 1942 had a lower participation rate, at 33.9 percent.
Obviously, voters had a good excuse then as most Americans were fighting a world war.
No, West Virginia’s 2014 turnout did not hit bottom, but it brought up the rear, at 31.8 percent. That tied with Nevada for 2014’s 10th worst voter turnout.
But we need not feel too guilty. In 27 states, less than 40 percent of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot. Only seven states broke 50 percent.
Judging by recent events, many think a bigger turnout is guaranteed in this November’s midterm election.
There’s the special election for at least one state Supreme Court seat, a tightly contested U.S. Senate race, Amendment 1 and the fallout from the teachers’ walkout
Not to mention the potential for a former coal baron to poison the U.S. Senate race.
This is all already on the electorate’s plate before the attack advertisements start, which give voters more (less?) reason to show up at the polls.
But for now, while that relentlessly negative tone is dormant, we urge our readers to begin eyeing the candidates and the issues.
Filling the vacancy(ies?) on the state Supreme Court will require that voters pay close attention to the near daily developments.
For now, candidates will begin filing Aug. 6 for the one seat that becomes vacant Friday July 27.
The fate of another seat on that bench — the subject of impeachment proceedings — may not be known in time to be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
As for that well-publicized U.S. Senate race, we’re not sure even this kind of competition will ramp up turnout, but it should.
Subject to a court decision on the sore loser law, this contest could become a bigger race than it already is.
Amendment 1 adds language to the state Constitution, declaring that it does not protect a woman’s right to an abortion and does not require state funding for such procedures.
As hot button issues go, none stir more up more rancor and voter turnout than abortion.
As for the aftershocks from the teachers’ walkout, it remains to be seen if there will be any consequences for certain legislators.
It won’t surprise us if there are repercussions and more teachers at the polls, judging by their continuing concerns.
West Virginia’s voters certainly won’t have to try too hard to best 2014’s turnout.
But more importantly, there won’t be any lack of incentives to vote this time.