North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


August 17, 2012

In upcoming election, one vote matters

COMMENTARY — The Declaration of Independence states that to secure certain unalienable rights, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....” Likewise, the Alabama Constitution notes “[t]hat all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority....” Sadly, the powers of modern government seem to be derived from the silence of the majority rather than their consent.

In 2008, about 131,144,000 citizens, or 43 percent of the country, voted in the presidential race to decide who would represent 304,093,966 Americans. President Barack Obama’s win by 52.9 percent of the vote essentially reflected the affirmative consent of less than a quarter of the United States’ population (22.8 percent).

In congressional elections, a shockingly small percentage of Americans are supporting candidates who, in turn, vote for legislation that ultimately becomes law. Because voter turnout is so low, the oft quoted “power of one” is quite legitimate.

In Alabama, the 2010 governor’s race saw voter turnout of only 57.5 percent of registered voters. In fact, only 18 percent of the population of Alabama voted for Gov. Robert Bentley.

While elected officials must represent a wide variety of interests in their constituency, voter turnout information demonstrates that relatively few Americans actually bother to voice their approval or disapproval regarding the job performance of elected officials. This leads to the unsettling conclusion that many potential voters either do not know what is happening in their government, or they simply do not care. 

While conservatives may blame Obama and liberals may blame Bush for the current state of political affairs in America, the non-voting American citizen may be the greatest contributor to the problem. The issue is especially pronounced in the elections closest to the people. Many Alabamians have no idea about the upcoming mayoral and council elections in 452 municipalities throughout Alabama set for Tuesday, August 28, 2012. By willfully forsaking the “political power ... inherent in the people,” non-voting citizens have rendered themselves subject to the powers of a government in which their stake is greatly diminished.

As federal and state governments expand well beyond their legitimate functions and budgets, citizens have a more important role than ever. Most governments spend every dollar they take in taxes and seize all opportunities to exercise the power of the state. Citizens must fulfill their duty to vote and engage in all levels of politics, creating accountability for their elected officials, not every four years, but with every decision politicians make that impact the lives of the people they claim to represent.

Thomas Jefferson famously stated that if citizens “become inattentive to public affairs, ... Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors would all become wolves.” With a series of elections in the near future, all citizens must decide whether they will pay attention and exercise their right to vote or be left as prey for a voracious pack of political wolves.

For Alabama voter registration information, go to

Andrew Kinnaird is a resident of Gardendale who works for the Ala­bama Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank located in Birmingham.

Text Only
  • Danielle Cater: Bass fishing is just in my blood

    I was born the daughter of a fisherman. My dad was the pastor of a local church and the manager at various Jefferson County Waste Water Treatment plants, but anyone who knows him, knows he is a fisherman at heart.

    July 21, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Making memories not that hard

    Do you spoil your kids? Do you spend enough on them? What really matters when it comes to the well-being of your children? These questions are real doozies and I think the answers vary according to the family.

    July 9, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Graduation leads to hard decisions

    The caps and gowns are ordered, the invitations have been mailed. Checks are being written all across the country, it must be graduation time.

    May 29, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Longevity in marriage still possible

    I have officially seen it with my own eyes. I have witnessed it with my own life. Yes, I have seen a couple who has been married 60 years and still love each other. Even more than that, they still respect each other and still genuinely love to be around each other.

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: ‘Girl in the front’ loves her job

    I’m 33 years old. Yes, I just admitted that. The reason I throw this fact out there so freely is that I have now, officially, been working for the North Jefferson News for over 10 years. That’s right, almost 1/3 of my life has been spent behind this desk. (And yes, I’ve had the same desk all 10 years.)

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: What memories are you leaving?

    Death hurts. It hurts when it hits close to home and it hurts when it hits the people who are closest to you.

    May 27, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Life is precious from the beginning

    The media is all abuzz this week over the story of a woman who apparently gave birth to seven babies in the last 10 years without anyone’s knowledge, then killed her babies and stored them in boxes in her garage.

    April 24, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014

  • Commentary: Bad vacation attitudes won't last forever

    In these photos, everyone else in the family is smiling as if this were their favorite vacation of all times, but I am huffing with my arms crossed and a literal frown on my face.

    March 26, 2014

Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Royal Wedding Live