The sheer number of elected officials is a unique factor of the American political system. Jobs that would be filled by civil servants or via appointment in other countries are chosen by the voters. There is something appealingly ‘American’ about such an arrangement; the idea that the democratic values of accountability and popular will should be extended to as many corners of our society as possible. That said, some of the things we know about Americans and elections should give us pause when it comes to filling technical and low profile jobs via the ballot.
It’s a well-known, but still unfortunate, truth that the Presidential elections every four years are high water marks when it comes to voter participation. When one starts going down the list—Congressional elections, Gubernatorial elections, State Legislative elections, and local elections—voter interest, attention, and participation wane at each step. Even in Presidential elections, where turnout is highest, often voters are only voting for many of the offices on the ballot because, well, if you’re already in the voting booth, why not? [Read more…] about A Vote for [Candidate] is a Vote for Slight Changes to Regulations!