Tuesday is the day to make every vote count

WITH ALL THE SOUND and fury they generate, locally and nationally, fall elections tend to overshadow spring elections.

One result is that the spring election – at which local officials are elected to school boards, town boards, village boards and city councils – historically has a much, much lower voter turnout. Oft times, the spring election voter turnout percentage is in the single digit range or not much more than 10 to 15 percent.

That’s really unacceptable, given the nature of what’s being voted on in the spring, including next Tuesday.

The people who are and will be elected in the spring are the ones who will make decisions that affect all of us most directly and that will be felt in our homes, neighborhoods and communities.

This is when we elect those whose decisions and votes will have the greatest impact on our day-to-day lives right here where we live – how our children are educated, what the quality of life will be in our hometown, how much our local tax bill will be and much, much more.

Yet, year in and year out, spring elections are the elections at which the fewest people vote.

The result too often is races decided by just a handful of people for the entire community – and yet those elected will most likely hear from many more of their constituents over their term in office than the number of those who bothered to vote for them or their opponents.

It has also resulted, more than once, in races that wind up deadlocked and have to be decided by some random means, such as a draw of cards. Other times, it has resulted in somebody being elected to a board or council by a single vote or two votes.

Every time something like that happens in a local election, it leads one to wonder what would have been the result if even a few of the nine out of 10 voters who do not cast a ballot in April every year had bothered to take a few minutes out of their day to vote – even if by an absentee ballot.

Those decisions should be made at the polls, not with a deck of cards, but apparently many believe – wrongly – that it is not important enough to take a little time to vote for the people who run their local governments.

Some say that the apathy exhibited at the April polling places is a result of the lack of races from many of the local positions they are voting on, but that’s not an excuse.

There is at least one race on the ballot next Tuesday for every voter in the county – for state superintendent of public instruction. There are also a handful of contested races for boards, councils and village presidents across the county.

There are also four races for village boards or city councils where there is not a full slate of candidates for the open positions – including the 3rd Aldermanic District in the city of Plymouth.

In those races, just a few write-in votes may decide who gets to fill those seats – all the reason why voters should cast their ballots.

A full list of candidates and polling places is listed in the sample ballot section included in today’s Review. Take a few minutes to check out who’s running and where to vote, then go cast your ballot in one election where every single vote truly does matter.

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