A City Clerk’s Perspective on Why Voting Matters
October 24, 2016 1:00 PM
by Lisa Pope
You’d be hard pressed to not have heard about the upcoming presidential election. And most people think they only need to vote every four years. But the issues that impact our daily lives are often decided by our local government. Local elections in Santa Monica occur every even-year in November. This year we are voting for four Councilmembers, two Rent Control Board Members, and three Santa Monica Community College District seats, along with City Measures GS, GSH, LV, and SM and Santa Monica College Measure V. Here are just a few of the many reasons to vote in your local election.
To Have a Say in How Your City is Run
Infrastructure, water conservation, recreation programs, and education are just a few of the issues local government provides and dictates. If you like the way things are or think a change is necessary, find out the candidates’ positions and vote for those that match your views. Vote in local elections to have a voice on issues affecting you.
To Help Decide Local Laws
Local elections have the most significant impact on your daily life. There are five ballot measure before Santa Monica voters. While electing officials who best represent our interests and values is an indirect way of deciding local issues, voting on specific ballot measures gives you a direct say in what laws govern your life. Take advantage of the opportunity to decide on local laws.
To Be Among the Few
Although Santa Monica typically has higher voter turnout, less than one-fifth of eligible voters, take the opportunity to elect their local politicians and decided on ballot measures. In order to accurately reflect the desire of the population, more people need to vote. Your vote will make a difference.
To Earn the Right to Complain
We’ve all heard that “If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain.” I'm sure people wish it were true, but the fact is that we all have the right to complain whether we vote or not. Voting is not a requirement, but it is a responsibility. It's an obligation. It's part of a bigger picture. I believe the will of the people is a driving and important factor in the success of our country. And it is about supporting a peaceful and consistent transition of power.
It’s Your Right!
Consider the history of voting rights. Our country was created with the understanding that only certain people could make governmental decisions. Throughout time, several amendments to the U.S. Constitution have addressed the right to vote. Women, minorities, and young people before us have fought for the right to vote. It’s your right!
If time is an issue, you can vote by mail. I’ve always gone to the polls, with my two boys in tow, to show them the importance of voting, and to create a lifelong habit of voting. With my youngest approaching 18 and my oldest off at college, this November might be the end of this tradition. I encourage you to utilize your right, let your voice be heard, and vote for your local officials and ballot measures.