Why Voting in Local Elections is Important

cred: freethepeople.org

cred: freethepeople.org

Jessica Townsend, Editor

Many people, especially young adults, only vote in the major presidential elections. However, the smaller politics in their state, county, and city are left alone. In fact, most people aren’t aware when bills are being passed and how to have their say in them. Local elections are just as relevant as country-wide politics. Individual states can have different laws on marijuana, transgender rights, and plenty of other topics that citizens have strong opinions on.

According to bustle.com, in 2011, less than twenty-one percent of voting-age residents in 144 U.S. cities voted in their local election. To be clear, this means that big decisions are being made by roughly one in five people. Isn’t it unsettling that the leaders of your community are being decided by a small group of people? Democracy is a group project, and we all have to participate for it to work properly. Additionally, those in office are supposed to reflect the citizens’ wants and needs. With only a sliver of active voters, they cannot accurately portray the community as a whole.

There is a common phrase that states, “If you don’t vote, then you can’t complain.” This is the same concept as, for example, getting upset that you don’t have any ice cream, when you never even ordered it in the first place. There’s another, less popular, quote by John Lewis that states, “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.” To vote someone you don’t like out of office is a peaceful way of changing the country, with a very simple action.

Even if you aren’t old enough to vote, you can still make your voice heard. This can be done by emailing or calling your county or state representatives, or by making persuasive arguments with those who can vote. This can also be accomplished with posters, rallies, social media posts, or anything else you can think of.