If you live in Ohio, or a handful of other states, today may be a special election day for you – spring primary without the usual rush of White House hopefuls (that’s next May). If you have an opportunity to vote in your community, here’s my advice (that’s why you’re here, right?):
Like far too many people I talk with these days, I have a difficult time convincing myself my vote really matters in national elections that spend literally billions (with a “B”) dollars to elect candidates to offices that pay less than $200,000 per year (Congress; the president earns $400,000). Let’s face it – those folks are elected by the lobbyists with the deepest pockets.
Yay, Citizens United.
But local elections, like those being decided today: special levies for schools, police, fire, libraries, seniors, mental health services…, and the occasional mayoral or city council/township trustee race – those are where you can make a difference.
When our son went off to college, he followed the sterling example set by his civic-minded parents (all right, he was a poli-sci major with a good government teacher) and voted absentee for our home district in every election.
One election he missed, whether it was his class load, band, travel, a new girlfriend – doesn’t matter. The school levy for his alma mater was defeated by one vote.
He’ll never miss another election. Sure, anything that close triggers an automatic recount, but it’s the symbolism.
One vote. His vote.
Your vote matters. Decisions are made by those who show up.*
Show up today and vote.
And be nice to your poll workers. That’s where I’ll be today.
*CJ Craig, The West Wing, among others