Letter: The Pilot's important work

Nothing is more critical to the health of a democracy than citizen participation. The abysmally low voter turnout in most localities on May 3 can’t be spun into anything positive. But it’s encouraging to know some people and organizations are trying to change that.

I want to offer encouragement to The Pilot for its efforts at citizen engagement during this recent election cycle. Besides doing a great job of reporting on the candidates and the issues through its various platforms, the paper also embraced new and innovative methods for engagement. These included the multi-pronged Norfolk Voter Turnout Project and Code for Hampton Roads’ awesome “OK Candidate” web app.

Pilot editors and other staff members are demonstrating that they understand the core of the issue: If we can convince more of the talented people in our community to work on getting more citizens to vote, we have a fighting chance to reverse voter apathy. We would no longer need to cede political power in this country to those who are just in it for themselves.

Michael Rau
Virginia Beach

(This originally appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the May 12, 2016 edition of the Virginian Pilot. It's no longer available on their website.)