Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Election day -- elect to participate

Election day across the country, and historically it will have the smallest turnout of voters. The reason is, of course, because the candidates are all running for state and local offices, andmany consider them not important enough to go to the polls for.

And that's a shame for two reasons:

1) Voting is a right that has been hard-won and shouldn't be treated casually. Throughout our history the right to vote has been extended to a wider group of our citizens, but not with struggle and conflict. There's a good chance without those struggles, unless you're a white male over 21 and hold a title to some land, you wouldn't be allowed to vote. A lot of people fought hard to give you the right to vote -- some who didn't live to have the right conferred on them.

2) Local elections are just as important -- if not more so -- than national elections. Remember, these are the people who will govern your town, your county, or your state.

They'll decide what the rates for water and electricity will be. They'll determine when and how often trash pick up will occur, and what it will cost. They'll set the tax rates for your property, and decide whether to impose meal taxes. They'll set the fees for county stickers, building permits and dog tags. They'll decide whether that big box store will be built in your neighborhood or elsewhere. They'll figure out how well (or  how poorly) to fund your police department.

In other words, your local officials will have a major impact on your daily life. You've been given an opportunity to help choose the people who'll be making those decisions. Will you take it?

I did. And if you don't like my choices, please feel free to disagree with me -- at the ballot box. Otherwise, I don't want to hear it.

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