In a 2016 study on municipal voting, researchers at Portland State University analyzed the most recent mayoral elections in the country’s 50 biggest cities. What became clear is that many registered voters in many big cities have a case of the don’t-give-a-craps when it comes to voting for their mayors. Voter turnout nationwide is lower than a slug in a gopher hole but especially so in Texas. The good news is Fort Worth’s illustrious base of registered voters doesn’t suck the most. We’re No. 2 on the list of least interested voters. The most lethargic tools in the country are shuffling around and drooling in Dallas. Other Texas cities ranking in the Top 10 are San Antonio (No. 4) and El Paso (No. 5).
The Portland busybodies studied 23 million voting documents to determine that few people vote in mayoral elections and “those who do vote tend to be older and more affluent than the population at large and less likely to be people of color. This raises important questions about social justice and public policy related to local elections.”
The median voter age in Fort Worth, according to the study, was 66. And yet, the average age of Fort Worth residents registered to vote is 41. The takeaway is that Fort Worth residents, especially the younger ones, don’t really care who is mayor. Former Mayor Mike Moncrief could have remained in office forever, like a king, if he had wanted. It’s easy for someone with money to win an election when voter turnout is less than 7 percent. Hire some fancy campaign consultant, target a couple of thousand people whom you can count on to vote, send them glossy mailers (and a free sample of Dentu-Crème, apparently), and the next thing you know, you’ll be drinking champagne and writing ordinances to allow the oil and gas industry to turn everyone’s backyard into a sludge pit.