Philadelphia's Democratic machine has supported candidates who have been recorded taking unreported cash from a lobbyist, pleaded guilty to fixing traffic tickets for crab cakes, and faced charges of using state workers to raise campaign funds. But City Commissioners Chairman Anthony Clark, a Democratic ward leader and Philadelphia's top elections official, has come up with a new way to show the party's disregard for the democratic process: He doesn't vote.

Clark hasn't voted since the general election in 2011, City Paper reported recently, citing voting records maintained by Clark's own office.

If the chairman bothered to respond to reporters' requests for comment, he might be able to explain why he hasn't been voting, even though it's his job to make sure elections run smoothly so that voters can, well, vote. So far, he has said only that his decision not to participate is "personal."

Maybe the Democratic machine has become so accustomed to dominating city politics that voting has come to seem unnecessary even to its stalwarts. Republicans hold city offices these days largely because a few are guaranteed to the minority party in the City Charter, which was written when the city had two strong political parties.

Clark became the commissioners' chairman through a deal with Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt, who holds one of those positions reserved for the minority party. Both Schmidt and the other Democratic commissioner, Stephanie Singer, ran as reformers, but they soon became too embroiled in petty squabbles to lead the commission. They need to put their disagreements aside, decide which one should assume the chairmanship, and address the shortcomings that became obvious during recent elections.

Clark, meanwhile, should resign. This office should be run by dedicated professionals with a commitment to public service, not a political fixture who can't even muster a personal commitment to look up his polling place. Clark's failure to vote, and his party's failure to censure him, show a lack of interest in the most basic right and responsibility of citizenship.

Voting matters. Consider the protesters in Hong Kong who are risking arrest and worse for the sake of self-determination - or this country's struggles to extend the right to vote beyond white, male property owners.

Some of Philadelphia's Democratic officials and candidates understand this. They should force Clark to step aside and make room for someone who cares.