EDITORIAL: National dilemma plays out in Milledgeville

Our nation’s history is littered with incidences of close elections where the swing of one or two votes have decided who will feel the thrill of victory and who will feel the agony of defeat. Still, there those who choose to think and believe their single vote has no impact on the outcome of an election. Pose that question to Floyd Griffin Jr.

As it stands now, the former state senator and mayor of Milledgeville will have lost his bid to return to the mayor’s office in that city to Gary Thrower by 35 votes. Yes, 35 votes.

The runoff election Tuesday drew 37 percent of the 6,047 registered voters in Milledgeville. Another more callous way to look at that number is that 63 percent of the city’s voters didn’t care enough to take a few minutes out of their day to cast a ballot. Did it rain Tuesday? Only the occasional afternoon thundershower and the summer heat is to be expected this time of year. What is more than obvious is that neither candidate was able to find the secret formula that could make the majority of the residents care about the civic affairs of the city where they live.

Poor voter turnout isn’t just a Milledgeville issue -- it’s a national problem and the secret elixir is elusive. It does seem to pour out during the national debate for president, but on the local level, where offices actually have more of an effect on citizens’ lives, complacency still rules.

It is a shame, though. We decry the fact that more high-quality people won’t subject themselves to the abuse of public office, but it’s easy to see why they don’t when the majority of the electorate sits on their hands waiting to criticize rather than pitching in -- even a ballot -- to help.