The first time I cast my ballot in an election, I was newly 18 years old and had only the vaguest idea of the importance of the thing I had just done.
Often, when we think of the markers of adulthood and responsibility, we think of the ability to go to a bar and order a drink with friends, or graduation from high school, or the ability to purchase cigarettes at the local corner store. But I think the one, true, identifiable marker of the transition from childhood into adulthood is the act of voting.
Sure, buying alcohol or cigarettes is something only people of certain ages (adult ages) can do, but the act of voting – of setting aside time to attend the polls and softly add your voice to the clamor of your countrymen and women…what is more a marker of responsibility than that?
In only a few brief weeks, the adults of the United States will be called upon to serve in a way that every man, every woman can serve their country: by voting.
Of course, the big-ticket item on this year’s ballot is the presidential election, but I urge our readers to not overlook the importance of the local elections that are also being concluded in November of this year.
On your ballot, below the box of presidential nominees, you will find representatives in Congress and the Florida State Senate; there is the election for Superintendent of Schools which will be open to all county residents, and certain residents will be able to vote for their district’s county commissioner, school board members, and Soil and Water representative.
These people, while not powerful on the national level, will be crucial in deciding the policies that are being implemented here at home, in Gadsden County.
These people determine how your children are educated and represented at school; how your land and water sources are protected and kept preserved; how your county government is led; and how your state is operated.
In this edition of the Havana Herald and Chattahoochee News-Herald, we have information on the candidates who are running for Gadsden County offices.
While you may already know who exactly you are voting for in the presidential election, and you likely have good reasons that have led you to decide why your presidential candidate should win the election, I ask you this: have you done the same research for the candidates in your local elections too?
Research has shown that in elections without a major, national election (such as presidents), voter turnout plummets drastically; it is as if people are telling their elected officials that local rules and homecourts aren’t important enough to turn out and vote for – when the opposite is the truth!
On the local level, your taxes are decided, your schools are operated, your roads are paved, your land is zoned, your laws are enforced, your cities are kept clean, your electricity and water is provided and your life is lived.
It is here, in Gadsden County, where the political voice of our citizens starts – make sure you are heard this November. Make sure you do your research on local candidates and vote for the one who best represents your views. Make sure you are as dutiful in local voting as you are in national voting.
Our country, county, districts, and cities depend on our voices in the polls.