Belington city election turnout was shameful

The residents of Belington should be ashamed of themselves.

Tuesday night’s paltry voter turnout of less than 60 residents shows not only a lack of civic pride, but a lack of gratitude for what our forefathers fought so hard to gain and protect – the right to vote.

Belington officials said more than 200 people usually turn out for municipal elections. Although that number is an improvement, it still is just a drop in the bucket compared to the city’s total population of more than 1,900.

Councilman Marshall Reed, Ward II, attributed the lack of turnout to there only being one contested race on the ballot. In that race, James Lawrence defeated incumbent Ward I Councilman Jerry Phillips by just four votes, 15-11. How embarrassing for the city and people of Belington.

Reed also said, “It’s terrible that there are not more concerned residents or those wanting to change or challenge those in office. I hope (the low voter turnout) is because they are satisfied with our work.”

The Inter-Mountain echos Reed’s sentiments but, realistically, many Belington residents likely still are bickering around the dinner table about how the city is run and what is necessary to make Belington a better place to live.

Shame on those residents, though, for not having the wherewithal to leave their comfortable houses and make a short trip to their precinct to cast their ballots.

Notwithstanding the lack of contested races, it is all citizens’ right and duty to cast their votes in not only municipal elections, but county, state and national races.

Generally, those who complain loudest about the government – on any level – are the same ones who do not exercise their right to vote.

In 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan ran a series of campaign ads declaring it to be ” morning again in America.” Now, though, it seems the sun is setting on America, and one of the reasons is the lack of motivation of its citizenry. If it is ever to be morning again in America, each and every citizen must take part in our governmental process. Participation starts at the most basic level of government – in the small cities and towns across our great nation.

Take action and make your voice heard by exercising your right to vote. Each vote truly does make a difference, whether it’s in the Belington municipal election or the 2016 presidential election.