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Message clear despite low turnout

Profile image for Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial
Denton Record-Chronicle Editorial

Denton's voters spoke clearly and loudly on Tuesday. They want increased accountability at City Hall. And they want city charter amendments that reflect that tougher stance in favor of good government.

The voters want to establish salaries for the mayor and City Council. They want to be able to say they are paying those seven elected officials to do a job and demand they do it.

They don't want to hear council members talk anymore about being besieged volunteers.

The voters want to write into the city charter stiffer ethics requirements to prevent nepotism and conflicts of interest, and to keep city officials from putting their thumb on the scales to benefit certain contractors doing business at City Hall.

As for what the voters do not want, voters spoke loudly they want to make it easier, not harder, to remove elected City Council members from office.

Voters believe municipal government in Denton -- now a billion-dollar-a-year business -- needs a full-time city auditor to serve as a watchdog over operations and taxpayer money.

It would be an understatement to say some City Council members have been less than dedicated to that proposition in recent years.

Now let's talk about the abysmal voter turnout and the small handful of citizens that made some pretty big decisions Tuesday.

We calculate the city of Denton turnout at 6.4 percent of eligible voters, which means a little more than 4,700 people voted. And that means another 70,000 did not vote.

Even the turnout in Robson Ranch, a senior citizen community that typically votes in large numbers, was low.

The Denton Record-Chronicle, the League of Women Voters, service organizations and neighborhood associations tried to put out the word about Tuesday's election. But the interest just was not there.

We're confident greater civic spirit will erupt in Denton approaching the March 2018 primary elections. As it now stands, too few voters are exercising too much power.

More people need to get involved.