Columbus Issue 1 went down to a ringing defeat yesterday, but the big story in my book remains the turnout, the cost of the special election, and the potential for manipulation. According to the Columbus Dispatch, 49,009 Columbus residents voted in the election, a pathetic turnout of about 9 percent — which, amazingly, is nevertheless higher than many elected officials, and the Franklin County Board of Elections, expected.
The special election cost about $1 million. That means we spent about $20 to get each of those 49,009 votes — money that could have gone to other civic improvements.
I thought Issue 1 was a bad idea and voted against it, but I think putting important topics like charter amendments on the ballot in special elections where turnout is forecast to be less than 10 percent of voters is ridiculous. If an issue is important enough to be put on the ballot, put it on the ballot on the customary voting day, when a reasonable turnout is expected — and we don’t have to incur a special expenditure of a million dollars of tax revenues to boot.