Save your protests about City Council for April 27, 2021

You can save your thanks for later.
Yes, the 16,994 people who did not vote in Morgantown’s City Council election owe the 1,630 people who did vote a debt of gratitude.
After all, it was each of you no-shows who allowed them to determine the outcome of this election for you.
Of course, many may not be exactly happy about the outcome of this election. And they may be even more unhappy in the near future.
Issues ranging from an additional 1 percent sales tax to annexation and a potential new municipal fee were all only in play months ago.
But t now City Council is looking at clear sailing for years to come, it’s   ready to seriously go to work on those issues and others immediately.
It’s not unusual for a crisis to spur people to action. Problem is, if new taxes and fees or annexation are not your thing you’ll have to wait until April 27, 2021, to express your disfavor.
But looking beyond any of those issues or others up the road, the real crisis here is the appalling turnout by eligible voters in Morgantown’s muncipal election.
Take just the fact that there were 600 more registered voters in Morgantown this week than in April 2017, but more than 1,000 fewer voters cast a ballot.
In 2017, with each of the city’s seven wards contested, that election’s turnout of 14.8 percent — 8.7 percent this year — looks like a downpour compared to the sprinkle of ballots cast Tuesday.
Say what you want to about the candidates, their positions, or even the weather lately, this doesn’t make sense. Especially in a city like ours, which is home to some of the most educated, affluent and articulate people statewide.
True, we didn’t  bottom out Tuesday. That low mark belongs to 2007  with a 1.5 percent turnout and 1999 with 2.8 percent.
But we can easily explain that away by the fact that only seven candidates bothered to even run for council’s seven seats then.
Although two seats in the seven wards were unopposed this year, and two others featured write-in candidates not on the ballot, there were still 14 candidates to choose from.
Clearly, some still care enough about democracy to vote and enough about who our leaders are to elect them.
This election was also reported on by local media for weeks and conducted by the city clerk’s office well and beyond reproach.
And to their credit, the  candidates did not stoop to the kind of  down and dirty campaigning that can deter voter turnout.
But people need to understand, when they choose not to vote, there will be consequences.
Worse than consequences to your wallet or purse, too.
More importantly, you gave up your license to complain.

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