Sign on wall has red arrow with 'VOTING' written on it.

Voting in local elections is important. Photo: Flickr user ‘justgrimes’

National politics are important but local city, county and state elected officials create laws, policies and budgets that directly affect our day-to-day live. Too many times these officials are elected to office with minimum voter involvement.

Meaningful change, change that you want often begins with locally elected officials.  Demonstrations, petitions, letters to the editor and community/town hall meetings will bring some attention to your concerns; however, if you care about issues it is in local elections that will provide opportunities for the changes you’re looking for.

Voting provides an opportunity to identify, support and vote for elected officials who understand that they are YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and their job is to create law, support laws and pass laws that reflect your views. No matter how much money local candidates for elected office receive from outside sources, big business, agribusiness, etc., it is YOUR VOTE that counts.

Few voters have Big Bucks to donate to candidates who share their views; however, every contribution no matter how small counts [that’s how President Obama raised money initially]. Consider asking friends/family/neighbors who share your views to contribute as well. Furthermore, if you have a few hours to volunteer – DO IT: pass out flyers, call voters, knock on doors, post stickers in your vehicles or in your yards.  Don’t forget social media: Email, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat can be used to send/post information regarding the candidates You support.  Last but not least, there are organizations like Lee County Democrats, SWFL Indivisible, Move On, Democratic Women of Lee County, Haitian Democrats, etc., that are probably providing information, buttons, flyers, yard signs on at least one of the candidates YOU support.  {You may even learn about a candidate you’re not familiar with similar views on issues that concern you}

According to Becky Kipp (2016) founder and CEO of Hear My Voice, a mobile-first civic engagement platform:

Our local officials are elected to represent the majority, and when a large fraction of the electorate fails to vote bias can be prevalent. Increases in voter turnout at a local level can improve minority representation in city councils and the passing of laws that are more reflective of how citizens feel.

Remember, local elections MAY have the GREATEST IMPACT on YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES.

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