I look over the 23 persons running in the Republican primary in my township. I know precisely two of these people, and I've lived here eight years. Now, I've heard of a couple more, but still, that's a pretty small information base. Once I see who's running for the Democrats, I probably won't know any more of them than I do of the Republicans. So, whether it's the primary election in May or the general election in November, I keep finding myself in voting booths staring at lists of candidates I don't know. Even name recognition fails me here. Other than party affiliation, on what basis should I choose between them? And in a primary election, on what basis can I choose the the party standard-bearer for a race, when I don't know one from the other?
What I'm getting at is that the people who are active in local politics form a rather small group among the larger citizenry. Those of us who are less active with local issues and less connected with local personalities are rarely approached by those who would like to run the local organs of government. We care about our community, but we cannot use our votes intelligently to better it. That's frustrating.