When the Founding Fathers drew up our Constitution, the notion of a democratic form of government, in which every citizen was given the right to vote (although admittedly, citizenship in the late 18th century was conferred solely upon white males) was an almost-heretical concept in a world ruled by royals and oligarchs.
However, more than 200 years later, free and open elections in a democracy have become the gold standard, so to speak, to which the peoples of other nations aspire to attain.
This coming Tuesday’s local election is of particular significance for many reasons. Not only will voters be choosing our local government officials, but there are important ballot questions to be determined as well in our community.
It is ironic that voter turnout for local elections is far below that of Presidential elections. Despite former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neil’s oft-quoted maxim, “All politics is local,” only a fraction of voters who come out every four years to vote for President do the same when choosing their local office-holders. Yet it is at the local government level that the office-holders whom we choose are in charge of so many of the things that are relevant to our daily lives, from the quality of our children’s education to our trash collection and everything in between.
More important, the amount of money that we send to local government from our real estate taxes, excise taxes, and water & sewer levies far exceeds (for all but the wealthiest among us) either our state or federal income taxes. This includes those who rent as well, because their monthly rent payments indirectly pay the property tax bills of the homes and apartments in which they live.
There are many important offices that will be decided at the ballot box Tuesday. Our Founding Fathers imposed only one duty, voting, upon every citizen. We urge all of our readers to take a few minutes of their time Tuesday to get out and vote.