Blog: National and Local Elections Matter (4/16/22)
There have been many negative things stemming from the increasing nationalization of American politics. And while I can talk about many of them, I would like to take the space this weekend to talk about one of the most important – the de-emphasis, if not outright ignorance, of state and local elections.
Several cities and counties held municipal elections less than two weeks ago, and in many cases turnout was 15% or less of the electorate.
Here in Poplar Bluff, only 50 people voted in one ward’s race for city council, while another ward had only 40 people who voted in its race for city council. This low turnout was common in area races.
While I am not criticizing voter choices, it is surprising and disappointing that so few voters exercise their right to decide who represents them in local government.
Some might wonder why national and local elections, especially local races, are so important. After all, a member of the city council, an alderman or a mayor does not have the power of a senator or a president.
The answer is simple: many of the things that affect us in our daily lives are not determined by what happens in Washington, DC. They are determined by what happens in Jefferson City, or more often, in our local town halls and county commission. meetings.
Washington has no say in the local sales tax rate. Washington is not deciding whether or not city streets will see improvements. Washington does not determine how your local taxes will be spent. Washington doesn’t decide whether or not people can own certain pets, like pit bulls.
State governments also determine many things in our lives that the federal government has no say in. The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution assigns all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government to the states.
A recent example of this took place during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government had no constitutional authority to institute a nationwide lockdown, stay-at-home order or shelter-in-place order. Instead, these orders were issued by state and local governments because only they had the authority to do so.
Municipal elections and midterm elections are often known to have a relatively low turnout. Given the importance of state and local government decisions, the opposite should be true. So the next time you have the opportunity to vote in a municipal, county or state election, raise your voice and get out and vote.
Mike Buhler is an editor for the Daily American Republic. Contact him at [email protected]