We Have Failed Liberty’S Test


Well, at least we shouldn’t have to listen to people complaining about local government for the next four years.

Obviously, Rim Country residents have no problem at all with the police, taxes, property assessments, distribution of county resources or government spending.

Just one big happy family of perfectly contented folks.

What else shall we conclude from the paltry turnout in the just-concluded primary election?

In most North County precincts, turnout for critical races like Ronnie McDaniel’s apparently doomed effort to restore political balance to the board of supervisors drew just 10 percent of the eligible voters.

By contrast, more like a third of the eligible voters showed up in Globe.

That could explain why Globe retained its stranglehold on county offices, although several general election challengers from North County can charge the windmill in November.

Mind you, some 1,600 votes remain uncounted — nearly 15 percent of the total. So some outcomes could well change by this evening. But that won’t change the most dispiriting statistic: North County’s low turnout.

McDaniel offered a countywide perspective and an impressive resumé as a judge and law enforcement officer, but lost out to the owner of a Globe electric and air conditioning company. Reportedly, the board of supervisors decision to award a fuel contract to an out-of-town contractor irritated the Globe business community and lo and behold John Marcanti filed at the last minute.

Equally last minute came Marvin Mull Jr., a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The federal redistricting rules designed to give minority populations like the Apache a chance of electing someone of their choice certainly came into play here. By the time the smoke clears, Mull could squeak past Marcanti — giving the tribe a decisive voice on the board of supervisors, although the reservation remains exempt from the taxes that pay for county services.

In the Democratic primary, the redrawn District 3 had about 2,000 Democratic and Independent voters in Payson, about 2,000 in Globe and about 3,000 on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. The turnout in the Payson area in that race fell to a shocking 12 percent. On the reservation, the turnout hit 18 percent. In Globe, it climbed toward 33 percent.

The pattern proved most painful in the supervisor’s race, but had its effects all across the board. For instance, Mac Feezor got only a third of the vote in his thoughtful, deeply researched challenge of incumbent recorder Sadie Jo Tomerlin. He won solidly in North County precincts, but the low turnout here assured Tomerlin of the victory.

The only bright spot for North County came with the Republican primary win for Adam Shepherd, who we hope will at last bring a countywide perspective to that office if he survives the general election contest with Craig Jones.

In other races, North County voters proved to be bemused bystanders to the election — like the upset win of Bradley Beauchamp over incumbent County Attorney Daisy Flores. Beauchamp didn’t bother to campaign in the north. The campaign played out almost entirely in Globe, based on sensational but dubious complaints about whether Flores should have filed murder charges in several killings. Flores won every north county precinct, but the low turnout in the north sealed her fate.

So what’s going on?

Maybe Rim Country voters just love all those Globe incumbents, don’t mind paying 70 percent of the property taxes to pay the salaries of county workers in Globe, and have no qualms at all about how government operates.

After all, no one even bothered to run against the Payson and Star Valley councils. Moreover, hardly anyone ran for a host of special district boards — which won’t even bother having elections.

So everything’s just great: Right?

We hope so: Because the other possibility is scary. Maybe people don’t care. Maybe they’re not paying any attention at all. Maybe voters just pay sentimental lip service to the patriotism, honor and sacrifice that have secured our right to vote from one generation to the next. Otherwise, why would they sit here safe and sound without fulfilling even the basic duties of citizenship?

Of course, we’re just sure most of our beloved readers are among the 30 percent who do care and not the 70 percent who don’t bother. So we’ll keep on covering the elections, convinced that we have a sacred duty to give those readers information they need to make those choices.

We draw but one, bleak comfort from the lamentable turnout figures.

The views of those who do vote count for three our four times as much as those who don’t care.

So if you voted, take comfort: You’re a person of influence.

If you didn’t vote, take note: You’ve got no right to complain for the next four years.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.