James H. Patton Jr. North Stonington
There are countries in the world where the results of any election or referendum are invalid if less than 50 percent of qualified voters participate. Other countries, in a manner quite the opposite of a "poll tax," impose significant fines on those qualified voters who do not fulfill their responsibility to participate in such events.
However, when North Stonington voters recently, not once but three times, voted down the town's administrative and educational budget, participation was in the order of 20 percent. That means that those decisions were made by a "plurality" of perhaps 11-13 percent of those eligible to cast a ballot. There were even several members of the town's very controversial Board of Education who didn't vote - for whatever reason.
This "grand experiment" of Thomas Jefferson and others has survived a Civil War, the Great Depression, Nazism and the Cold War, and each of those resulted in making the country stronger. The existential threat that is entirely capable of bringing it down however is apathy. When a society accepts its key decisions being made by only 1 in 9 of their numbers, it is stretching a point to call that society a democracy.