If former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill was right and “all politics is local,” then next Tuesday is a big day. In fact, it’s the biggest day of 2019 as it will be the only time this year we have a local election. So, whatever you do, be sure to get to the polls on Tuesday.
There are no politics more important than local politics, but there are also no elections with less local participation than ones that are only local. Historically, participation in Missouri’s April election, which determines who will serve on city councils, school boards, ambulance boards, fire boards, and other agencies, has hovered around 10 percent.
Read that again—only 10 percent of registered voters normally head to the polls for our April election. That is almost unbelieveable, especially given the fact that the people we all elect next Tuesday will have more of a direct impact on our day-to-day lives than anyone we have ever elected to statewide or national office.
These people will decide when our kids will go to school, what they will learn, what extracurricular activities they will have, who teaches them, when our parks will be open, who will be protecting our streets and homes, what type of fire equipment will be available for the community, how advanced our 911 call center’s technology is, when the city pool will open and what its hours will be, when our ambulances with 200,000 miles on them are replaced, when potholes will get filled, what streets will get paved, and much, much more that will directly impact our lives.
They will also decide a lot of things that can impact our pocketbooks. They determine how much we are going to pay for electricity and water, how much our business licenses will cost, what our city and school district property taxes will be, how much it will cost for you children or grandchildren to play summer ball, and more.
And, perhaps most importantly, they will be the ones who determine how tens of millions of local taxpayer money will be spent over the next several years. That is money we all pay and we certainly don’t want it to be wasted.
Far too often during our April election races are decided by just a handful of votes—many times by less than five votes and sometimes by just one. Close, contested elections are great, but not when they are decided by a final tally of 54-51 because no more than 105 people could find time to make it to the voting booth.
Should you be comfortable with just 10 percent of voters deciding who gets to do all that for us? Absolutely not!
The April election is far too important to all of us to simply not show up at the polls. It should be the election that has the most voter turnout, not the least.
Whatever you do, get to the polls on Tuesday and let your vote determine the who decides on the things that most significantly impact your life.
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