Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Ask the News - April 7

Looking at the recent Clovis city election, voter turnout was 11% to 13%. Any idea as to why voter turnout is so low? What if voters were offered incentives such as Jell-o shots or gift cards after voting?

Clovis City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said she doesn’t know the answer.

“I have heard, ‘it doesn’t matter, nothing changes,’ ‘It’s rigged and the winner has been decided,’ ‘I didn’t know there was an election,’ ‘I don’t know any of the candidates, so I won’t vote,’ and some say the citizens must be okay with the representation and they see no need to vote for change,” Melancon wrote in an email.

Melancon went on to note she and Curry County Clerk Annie Hogland discuss voter apathy and they are open to suggestions on how to increase and educate citizens on voting.

“Incentives for voting would not be an option and if they were, Jell-o shots would be non-alcoholic as a statute still has the 300-yard (alcohol) distance requirement from any polling place,” Melancon wrote.

Hogland had also given the conundrum some thought.

“I’m afraid if we polled voters as to why they didn’t turnout, they wouldn’t respond, so I guess we’ll never know,” Hogland wrote in an email.

Hogland wrote when she’s asked friends about why they don’t vote they say it’s because they forget, didn’t know there was an election, didn’t know the candidates, etc.

Hogland said her own mother isn’t registered to vote. “She’s not in Curry County and she’s pretty direct as to why she doesn’t vote. But that’s a novel of a discussion for another time,” Hogland wrote.

Hogland said she believes no process is perfect, and “we can always do better,” but she also believes in personal responsibility.

“It is your right to vote, and your duty to exercise that right,” Hogland wrote.

As for incentives for voting, Hogland wrote, “Exercising your RIGHT to vote is incentive enough. Perhaps people forget that and take it for granted.”

Hogland said “I voted” stickers are popular among voters.

“You’d be surprised how upset voters tend to be if a polling place runs out (of the stickers),” Hogland wrote.

Hogland has a favorite quote about voting from Louis L’Amour, one of her favorite writers:

“To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”

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