From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:
Evan Falchuk, founder of the United Independent Party, has this op-ed in the Springfield Republican daily newspaper. Falchuk mentions that most Massachusetts general elections for state legislature had only one person on the ballot, although, unfortunately, he doesn’t explain why. Massachusetts has the nation’s most restrictive laws for candidates getting on a primary ballot, especially for Congress and statewide office.
From the op-ed:
Sometimes, the most important events in your life are the ones that, in the moment, don’t seem so important. It’s true in news and politics, too. Here, in no particular order, are the stories from 2014 that fit that we should be thinking about more as we enter 2015:
1. More than 2 million people didn’t vote in the 2014 election. There were a lot of reasons to vote: a full slate of constitutional officers, a U.S. Senate race, four controversial ballot questions, dozens of other races, and a record amount of political spending. And yet fewer people voted than even the low pre-election predictions suggested. It’s a trend across the country, with voter turnout at its lowest point in 72 years. Something is happening to our democracy, and it’s not good.
2. More than half of the Massachusetts legislature ran unopposed. If you were one of the people who did vote, it’s likely your ballot had on it lots of people running without an opponent. It’s become typical for members of the state legislature to run unopposed. It’s hard to feel like your vote matters if most of the time voters don’t have a choice – and it’s no wonder voters don’t feel like their representatives are really accountable to them.