VOTING IN SMALLER RACES CAN MAKE BIG CHANGES

by Amanda Gordon


When it comes to the elections, the act of voting for the next president is viewed to be the end all for civic duties. While it is an important process to be involved in, it’s not nearly as impactful as local elections.

On Nov. 7, if you are eligible to vote, you need to vote. Who you vote for is your own business but it’s imperative for citizens, especially millennials, to vote.

I know that with the last presidential election many people would beg to differ, especially with the changes that have come since Trump took office. Realistically, the changes made at the state, county and town levels will impact your life more than the federal offices.

Taxes, education, infrastructure and transportation are enforced not by the President, but at the local community levels and when you vote at the local level you are putting your voice out for what you as a taxpayer believe in. It’s hard to not fall into the apathetic drive especially after the 2016 elections where the Democratic candidate saw three million more votes than the Republican victor but votes on local elections are heard in volumes.

Think about it, the average person is more likely to run into their local representatives within a month than they are to meet any of the living former presidents. Due to the close proximity, voters have a greater chance of making a difference and being that elected government officials depend on votes to maintain their position each term, the more likely they are to listen and act upon the public’s concerns.

In Westchester county, for the 2016 voting period there was a total of 553,176 people who showed up to cast their ballots. A rather decent number considering that according to the U.S Census  that year, the county hosted just under one million people residing in Westchester. Of that population, about 755,239 people are of the eligible voting age.

Given these numbers, about 73 percent of Westchester voters rocked the vote. Pretty good overall, but again this was the presidential election. If we get the same turn for the local elections it would be impressive. Ground breaking even.

Everyone has to participate to make improvements and technically, if you don’t get involved, you are giving more power to those who vote against your interest.

The smaller the voting pool, the stronger smaller interest groups are. The party or group who votes on things that damage a community rather than aid it can make those changes, even if they aren’t part of a majority. Take a look at birth control measures for instance. Perhaps if the conversation on a political level had more women engaging in the debate, maybe we would see significant improvements to policies and procedures.

Instead we have older white men weighing in on an issue that they will never physically deal with.

We all want instant gratification, but that isn’t how politics, or anything for that matter, works. It’s a process you have to engage in constantly. Stay informed on the local bills that are being brought to the floor, attend town board meetings and get involved with your local officials and find out who is running for office before election day.

If you vote blue, red, purple, green, or yellow, I don’t care. Just get out there and have your voice heard election day.

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