Was it Abe Lincoln who said, “Democracy is not a spectator sport”? That is not a quote attributed to him but surely, he believed it.

Most citizens would agree that all who are eligible should register to vote and that all registered voters should participate in the legislative process by researching the issues and voting for candidates who share their priorities.

In Hillsborough County voter turnout was 71% in the 2016 Presidential election and 61% in the 2018 General election.

How can broader citizen engagement be encouraged?

Currently, Florida House and Senate rules grant the power of appointment of not only committee chairpersons but also individual committee assignments to the House Speaker and the Senate President. Under those rules, the majority party leadership may prevent minority party members from serving on a committee they may be highly qualified for.

The rules could be changed to promote voter turnout by granting the choice of committee service, in order, to those elected legislators whose district achieved the highest level of voter turnout.