It took years of debate, referendums, court challenges and legislative action for the town of James Island to become incorporated. That long, hard fight concluded only two years ago, but the following 2012 election turnout suggested that enthusiasm already had waned.
In that election, held in July, the turnout was a little better than 11 percent.
That figure was about a third of the turnout for the incorporation vote held in April 2012.
Part of the reason might be attributed to the fact that the town election isn't held along with other regularly scheduled elections for national or state office. If the dismal turnout persists, the town should consider realigning its election date.
James Island voters will have the opportunity to reverse their embarrassing turnout in the 2012 vote for mayor and council by showing up to vote tomorrow. Contests for both mayor and council are in the balance.
We know of no other local community in this state that has been willing to spend such time and treasure for self-determination. The four incorporation efforts encompassed 19 years, and the first three went the distance to the state Supreme Court, with the town on the losing end.
Some of the issues that sparked the incorporation initiatives - development and traffic, for example - remain in play in the town, the city of Charleston's part of the island, and that portion which is served primarily by the James Island Public Service District.
If town of James Island residents still want a say in their local government, they ought to be willing to show up at the polls - and in numbers constituting more than 11 percent of its voting public.
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