We’re now only a few days away from the upcoming Aug. 4 election, which means it’s time to make plans to cast your vote, if you haven’t already.
The early voting period has come and gone in what feels like a flash, and while I’m sure many people took advantage of the time, I’m also betting there are thousands of registered voters that didn’t. And that’s ok, since I tend to wait until the actual election day to go stand in line with all of the other last-minute voters at the polls.
Whether you were an early voter or a day-of person, each one is equally important, especially with this year’s election. Sure, you could merit most every election as being “very important,” but it isn’t every year when you see as much turnover in places like the county commission, as well as electing a new county mayor.
That’s the main reason why this one is a big one, and why it’s all the more important to pay attention to who will be representing you over the next few years. In a place like Maury County, which is still considered the fastest-growing county in the state, you’d think the average citizen would want to pay closer attention to the decisions their leaders are making.
This is especially important for anyone who might have moved here over the last year or two. A good way to get to know the place you now call home is by looking into the local politics. And if you have children, you definitely want to know what’s going on as far as funding for things like school programs and child-related nonprofits.
These are also representatives who will make decisions regarding things like if a developer wants to construct a giant neighborhood with 1,000 houses near your home, or if there is a proposal to raise property taxes. In other words, the future of the county is dependent upon who shows up to the voting polls to express their voice.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about early voting starting, and how over the years of covering local government, I realized just how important it is for citizens to vote in those elections. Whatever your politics are is your business, as well as what you think about the larger federal elections for things like the U.S. President and/or the U.S. Senate and House.
However, the local elections are what directly affects your day-to-day life. Not to mention, your vote is actually factored into the decision making of who will come out the winner. There is no popular vote or electoral college for local elections, there’s just the numbers of citizens who made the effort to show up.
Of course, I’m not naïve enough to think we’ll ever reach a 100% voter turnout, but we can certainly do better. When it’s considered a win whenever the numbers exceed 10%, that’s just sad.
I’m curious to see what the numbers will reflect following Thursday’s election, as well as the next election we have coming up in November. Sure, the final numbers will likely be much lower than what they could be, but much like our population, let’s just hope it’s more than it was last time.
And as I always say, if an elected official makes a decision you don’t necessarily agree with, consider whether you took the time to cast your vote. Did you do your own due diligence as a citizen?
These things are important to consider, and why it’s important to vote. Don’t miss your chance this week if you didn’t early vote. If for anything, it gives you the leverage for when you want to complain or speak out about an issue. I’m just saying.
Jay Powell is a reporter for The Daily Herald. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JayPowellCDH.