Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

- Paul Leonard can be contacted at

The incredibly shrinking Clark County voter pool

Between yesterday’s Vancouver mayoral primary and Rep. Brian Baird’s healthcare reform meeting, it seemed like there was no escaping politics – though it seems around 80 percent of eligible Clark County voters tried their best on a sweltering hot late-summer election day.

The 80.4 percent figure is a Clark County Board of Election estimate of the number of voters who did NOT bother to drop-off or mail-in their ballots Tuesday.

After last year’s contentious Presidential primary season, it’s understandable that historically-high voter participation rates had only one direction to go – down. However, a rock-bottom 19.6 percent voter turnout is not good news for any democracy, especially in a time of falling revenues, unbalanced budgets and stretched-thin public services that threaten local, county and state government.

With a tight race seemingly inevitable between Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard and Councilman Tim Leavitt in this November’s general election, a race that will likely determine the future direction of the city for decades to come – surely, we can do much better.

Thank you, VBJ readers

Over the past week, the VBJ newsroom received quite a few messages about recent Just Business columns focusing on the healthcare reform debate. Some agreed with our views on this contentious issue – many others did not.

Regardless, we are humbled by the response from readers who took the time from their busy work day or perhaps much-deserved summer vacation to weigh-in on a debate that we can all agree is crucial to our nation’s future.

As Managing Editor of the Vancouver Business Journal, it is my goal to include as many different viewpoints on the important issues facing Southwest Washington’s business community as possible.

Thanks for reading, folks.