Here’s Why Your Vote in Our Local Elections is the Most Crucial Vote You Can Cast
Today is Election Day, Lafayette—and your vote is more crucial than ever.
Dare I say, “smaller” elections and runoffs like the one we have today are the elections that have the “larger” direct impact on our community and our daily lives.
Look, we’ve all seen our voter turnout numbers in the past—and the truth is, we LOVE to hold elections, but only show up for the BIG ones.
If you Google "voter turnout" you will definitely find some eye-opening data, but the quick and dirty is that only about half of us (of those who are eligible to vote) show up for the big stuff like presidential elections—and that number is slightly lower during midterm elections.
Those numbers plummet even lower for odd year, primary, and local elections/runoffs. Again, I will spare you the percentages and statistical mumbo jumbo and just tell you that when I say "even lower" I mean REALLY low—like almost embarrassing.
Part of the reason that local elections suffer when it comes to participation and understanding is because of a lack of information offered to voters about when they're happening, what decisions will be impacted, and just how important some of these local offices are when it comes to our day-to-day lives.
This is especially important for you to know because the truth is while all elections are important, those "BIG ones" we love to show up for (you know, the guys in Washington) don't have as much power as our local elected officials do when it comes to making your world kinder or crueler. Our elected officials are the ones who decide where our money is spent, give (or take away) the resources we need to thrive, and literally make life or death decisions.
So remember that part about the lack of information that I mentioned earlier? Well, my friend and local councilwoman, Liz Webb Hebert, tied everything you need to know about today's election up in a pretty little bow.
So let's take a look at this particular runoff.
These judge seats that are up for grabs will be filled with people who will have the power to imprison people or let them walk free. When we see races for District Attorney or Attorneys General, those are the folks that have the power to decide what happens in local conversations that involve things like police brutality, which has been a very hot topic as of late.
We often criticize members of school boards and city council when our teachers and schools don't get the funding we believe they deserve, or when our local money isn't being allocated responsibly—but how many of us can say we actually did research on these folks before we voted for (or against) them at the polls? Based on the voter turnout numbers, a lot of us would have to ask ourselves if we even voted at all.
So what's the takeaway here? Basically, when the wrong people are elected or the wrong decisions are made on things like taxes, amendments, etc. the results can be pretty crappy.
Another final note: No system is perfect. That conversation is literally happening on a national level as we speak, but these local elections are far more accurate and impactful when it comes to our world and how decisions are made fairly and for the greater good in our community.
So get up, get informed, and get out to vote today. Bring a friend. If you can't bring a friend, tell a friend. Make your voice HEARD!
Not just in the big elections, but in ALL the elections.