Today is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, so that means Voting Day in the US. It’s an off-cycle year here, so no national offices on the ballot for another few months when the primaries start, which means most everything on the ballot is local issues: city and county level stuff. So most folks won’t get out to the polls today; in Sunnyvale, fewer than 1 in 5 residents will vote.
Still in all, in my view, local elections matter to our daily civic life in a million different ways. They determine who sits on city council, who’s the mayor, who sets the agenda. They define things like how zoning works, where you can build certain types of buildings, and what you can spend on schools. This particular election in Sunnyvale will determine whether or not we get a new library to replace our current lovely-but-50-year-old building. I’ve worked a bit on that election (although not as much as Jim, who’s completely blown me away with his dedication), and personally hope that we can get the new library bond passed. I think it’s important for our citizens, our kids, and our community.
Anyway, I voted this morning, and was reminded, yet again, how important that I think local civic life is, and how while it can be a little bit frustrating for me because of the pace and the (relatively) small stakes, compared to my work life, participation in our local communities is probably the only real antidote to the disenfranchisement and disillusionment that seems so commonplace today.
So whatever your views are, I hope you’ll go vote today if it’s happening where you live.