Voter Suppression Tactics To Be Used To Pass Elk Grove City Charter?

One council member seems to suggest primary voters are more ‘astute ’ On Thursday, October 29 the summit meeting of the Elk Grove City Chart...

One council member seems to suggest primary voters are more ‘astute

On Thursday, October 29 the summit meeting of the Elk Grove City Charter was designed convey information of what exactly a charter city is compared to a general law city, what would be contained in the proposed charter and how the people of Elk Grove would elect its council members and if voters chooses to, a mayor.

Many stakeholder voiced opinions on what they wanted in the charter ranging from union members insisting of language supporting prevailing wages to an audience member who said “I am confronted by unions” and that he did not want to be “bullied by outside people.”

While the summit proceeded in a mostly civil manner, it was discovered that some of the language in an information sheet from the city was incorrect. The sheet improperly defined “by district” with a description of “from district” and vice-versa.


During the course of the two hour plus summit, the discussion clearly indicated more information needs to be disseminated to voters regarding the proposal and the procedures of implementation should it be approved. “There needs to be a lot more outreach,” Elk Grove resident Vernon Billy said.

Voter suppression – Astute voters only

Perhaps one of the more interesting and perhaps unheard or misunderstood statements of the summit came in the waning minutes of the session.

Following a series of question, a female member of the audience asked Mayor Pat Hume when the charter will be placed on the ballot, during the June primary or November general election.

Hume said:

”I can only speak for myself and I’ll give you my thinking on it. I kind of went back and forth on whether or it is better or worse to be in a primary versus a general.”

“Fewer people vote in primaries, but people who are paying better attention vote in primaries so I think you have a more astute electorate in a primary than the general so you will have people who have been paying attention to this charter”

Hume went on to say that the overwhelming reason for having a charter was to have a popularly elected mayor. By having the mayor question on the June ballot, it would clarify the overall charter question in November.

In comments following Hume, council member Gary Davis said he would be willing to listen to comments as to whether it should be on the June or November ballot. “I am open on that one,” Davis said.

There are a couple of ways to interpret Hume “astute” voter’s comments.

First, Hume seems to imply that only voters who are informed should vote. While not mean spirited in its presentation, these types of comments do remind of us of “literary test” in the Jim Crow days of the American South often imposed as a means of denying people the right to vote.

While there is no reason to suggest Mayor Hume and his political allies are racist, they aren’t. Elitist? Perhaps. Nonetheless, the mere suggestion that a vote be set at one time so that only “astute” voters participate suggests a sort of voter suppression that clearly aims to quell all registered voters in participation.

At a minimum, it may suggest that the mayor is hoping for a low turnout of “astute” voters to approve of an elected mayor or the entire charter while keeping those pesky uninformed ones away. It is this type of behavior by elected officials that breeds cynicism that keeps voters away in the first place.

Now that I mention it, maybe that is exactly want he wants.

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