ESCANABA - There are many things I do not understand about elections.
For instance, I do not understand why we vote for university regents. I'm sure there's a good reason for doing so. I just don't know what it is.
I know I could just not vote that section of the ballot but I do because it's there. So I usually end up voting for the Democrats even though I can't fathom a reason why Democrats would do a better job of regenting than Republicans or vice versa.
I also do not understand why we elect judges. Who knows anything about judges? In other professions, the best people work their way up. Why not judges?
Take the best lawyers, make them low-level judges then pick the best judges for the next level from that level, and so on up to the Supreme Court.
I don't know who should do the picking, but I'll volunteer if no one else wants the job, although we might end up with judges who hand out the death penalty for tail-gating.
I also don't understand why we vote on a weekday when folks are working. Why not make it a weekend or give everyone Election Day off? A lot of people get Columbus Day off. Surely, voting is more important than celebrating a guy who didn't discover America but did introduce syphilis to Europe when he and his crew returned home. (I read too much.)
But here is what puzzles me most about elections: I seldom meet people who don't vote.
Yes, there's that loud guy at parties who tells everyone over the avocado dip that he hasn't voted since 1970 because they're all crooks. But I'm not talking about that guy. I'm talking about people who make up the one-half to two-thirds of registered voters who don't show up for most elections.
Occasionally you might hear someone admit they miss an election or two.
But you seldom hear anyone say, "I can never be bothered," which is probably the biggest reason for low turnout.
In a sense, I don't blame people who routinely don't vote. Everyone knows that no matter who they elect they're not going to do the things they tell people they'll do in order to get elected. Otherwise we'd all have jobs, the roads would be paved with gold and no one would pay taxes.
Probably we should stop harping on them. People who don't vote are probably lazy, stupid or both.
That sounds harsh, but then I go back to the old Jay Leno bit called "Jay Walking," in which he would ask people ridiculously easy questions like who the president is.
Most people wouldn't know the answer, of course, which is why the bit is funny the first time you see it. After the third or fourth time, however, it becomes frightening, at least to me.
My god, I think, what if these people actually did go to the polls?
So don't be blue when you hear media reports bemoaning low voter turnout.
Maybe we're better off, you know?
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.