During the primary election in May, there were 20,535 women in my age group — 50 to 61— who were registered to vote in Fayette County. Only 3,171 actually did, however.
In that same age group, there were 17,275 men in Fayette County registered to vote, but only 3,150 did. What is up with that?
True enough it was a primary, and it usually takes a full-blown general election to pull us off our couches and into the voting booth. But I still don't get our complacency.
We watched as people throughout the Middle East rose up against their leaders, demanding more say in their governments. We applauded them, gave them help. And yet, we, who already have democracy, take it for granted.
Maybe it is just us old folks who decline to vote.
No, apparently not.
Along with those figures, dated July 15, the Kentucky Board of Elections found that in the 35 to 49 age group, only 9.8 percent of women and 11 percent of men voted.
In fact, the younger the voter, the less they participated in the election process during the primaries. That is ridiculous and embarrassing.
The Rev. Joseph Owens, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, said we should vote in primaries with the same passion as in the general elections.
"The primary was the practice," he said. "We missed practice. If you don't go to practice, how are you going to play in the game? You don't know the plays."
To help voters get back in the game, Owens and other members of Operation Turnout, a partnership of black churches, the NAACP and Greek organizations, will focus on educating and motivating voters.
"For me personally, I constantly tell people if you don't execute your vote, you don't have a say," Owens said. "It is always disheartening for us to always be after the fact talking about what we could've, would've, should've done."
He said Operation Turnout was "big on voter registration and commitment to participation, and voter education."
To that end, Operation Turnout is hosting a candidates forum for those seeking statewide office. Gov. Steve Beshear and Gatewood Galbraith, both candidates for governor, have agreed to appear, as have Bill Johnson and Alison Lundergan Grimes, who are vying for secretary of state.
John T. Kemper III, a candidate for state auditor; Robert Farmer, a candidate for commissioner of agriculture; and KC Crosbie, a candidate for state treasurer, also have confirmed.
"There is at least $8 billion in the state budget, and they will either spend it for or against you," said former Urban County Council member George Brown, who be the forum moderator. "It is important to have input for the quality of your life."
Candidates will introduce themselves and discuss chosen topics. The gubernatorial candidates will have 15 minutes to talk about creating jobs, tax reform, education, recidivism and minority business development. Five additional minutes will be allowed for questions and answers.
All of the candidates have been asked to focus on their plans and not make negative comments about their opponents.
"Our forum is for voter education," Owens said. "Simple participation in itself is not enough. We've got to know what the issues are and why your one vote can make a difference."
Nationally, according to the Kentucky secretary of state's office, 3 million young people become eligible to vote each year and some 400,000 women in this state are eligible to register, but they don't. It's their right. They are free to do that. But how long will freedom last if we continue to let others choose for us?
Register. Learn. Participate. It's that easy. And now that the registration deadline has passed, the other two actions come into play.
People who barely escaped with their lives during the tumultuous Arab Spring are shaking their heads at us.