With all of the complaining and protesting going on in the world today, you would think voter turnout for elections would be high. It is not and it is time for citizens to do their civic duty and vote.
In the Oct. 29 edition of TDN, reporter Zack Hale informed us that voter turnout is lagging far behind historical trends. As of Oct. 28, just over 6 percent of registered voters had cast their ballots.
At the same time in 2015, about 9 percent of voters had cast their ballots, so the trend is not good.
So why should you vote?
Some folks say voting allows “your voice to be heard,” while other folks are quick to point out, “if you don’t vote, don’t complain about what elected officials do.”
We suspect people vote for many reasons – some are passionate about keeping taxes as low as possible and others might vote for candidates or issues that might expand government spending to help the needy.
Single issues, such as the Longview School District’s $121.6 million bond proposal, often bring out voters. Our guess is many people are casting ballots this year since the bond issue is at stake. Certainly voters in Toledo are mobilizing both for and against the Toledo school bond issue as well.
Whatever the reason, it is important to cast a vote and have an active role in our community.
Voters are people who care about something, and typically want many of the same things.
While voter turnout tends to be the highest when United States presidents are elected, local elected officials tend to make more decisions which affect our lives.
Whether it is enacting a new car tab fee, homeless shelter zoning, water issues or law enforcement decisions, local elected officials make policies which substantially affects us.
You might say it’s just as important to cast a vote in a local city council race as it is for president of the United States.
In the years to come, many significant issues will be decided. Additional investments possibly will be considered for addressing the city of Longview’s water issue. For many of us who are passionate about our dogs, a new city leash law seems to be gaining some support.
Invariably, in both Longview and Kelso, elected officials will consider raising car tab fees. Each city currently charges a $20 car tab fee to support road maintenance. With construction costs soaring, more money likely will be needed to keep roads in good condition.
If the local economy continues to grow, more focus will be put on “quality of place” and parks. Over the past eight years or so, park maintenance and upkeep has been challenging. As the recession hit hard, and city budgets were stretched, parks were somewhat neglected.
As we’ve seen with the Kunz Fund, decisions regarding park spending create quite a bit of controversy.
Some people want to see money spent on the Civic Center in front of the Monticello Hotel, while others would like to see new or upgraded playground equipment established in various parks.
City council members make the final decisions on these issues.
Hopefully, economic development opportunities give the community and city councils something to talk about in the coming years. Longview is continuing to develop the Mint Farm with the Pacific Coast Fertilizer project, and Kelso is in the early stages of developing Anchor Point.
As these projects develop, many decisions and issues need to be decided.
Who you vote for now could potentially change the trajectory of these projects over the next four years.
Various school districts either have a capital bond levy on the ballot or are considering one for a future ballot. If the bond measures don’t pass this year, future school board members will make more tough decisions next year.
This means who you vote for in the school board races is very important. School board decisions, like a bond offering, affect property taxes for 20 years.
With so many issues being decided, it’s a good time to cast your ballot.
Please get out and vote.