The Importance of Local Elections

Jeffery Onyeador, Staff Reporter

In light of campaign season, I would like to take some time to discuss local elections. For some time I’ve been wondering the significance of local election. I’ve always assumed that since they don’t get as much coverage as others, they must not be important.
Local elections are important however. Voting in local elections give people the opportunity to have a say about how councils spend money and run services in the community, such as looking after seniors and providing the essential everyday services that many residents depend on.
Many americans have grown skeptical of the value of their voice after years and years of president have made promises and failed to keep them, etching us more and more towards political apathy. Truly, many americans are under the impression that voting for the presidential election is very patriotic and democratic.However, I see a better picture of direct democracy in local elections rather than national elections which incorporates the electoral college.
Despite, local elections suffer even worse voter turnout than national and state elections. In the 2014 state election, registered voter turnout averaged 44.5 percent statewide. How much is it then for local elections.
This political apathy is self-inflicting. The national gov’t may represent a supremacy, but realize that our voices our most heard in the local elections, in the small communities we reside in. In the same manner, the local governments affect our lives the most.
We pay property tax to them. When it snows, it is the local government that sends the trucks to plow your street. It is the local officials who overseer the local police department, serving as a vital check and balance on the power of the police to ensure that laws are enforced appropriately. The public school system, managed and funded by the local government, touches nearly every citizen either taxpayer, employee, or student.
Policy decisions made in this political arena can certainly impact the lives of you and your family. Therefore, it is vital that we exercise our right to vote.