OPINION: Get out there and vote


Photo credit/ Alex Weidner

Scranton residents show their support for local candidates with yard signs.

Alex Weidner, Managing Editor

America is a democracy, and we the people have all the power. That is, if we choose to use it.

It’s important to vote in presidential elections. The fate of the nation rests in that single day, for at least the next four years. But that little voter registration card isn’t useless for every single one of the 1,460 or so days between every presidential election.

It’s time to cast your ballots again, America!

You’ve seen the yard signs here in Scranton. Courtwright For Mayor! Talerico! Scanlon! Novak! The list goes on.

And those names matter, just as much as the names at the top of the ballot last November. If it’s change in your community you’re looking for, look no further than these local off-year elections. Pay attention to the issues — which mayor, district attorney, magistrate or congressman is going to make the most difference right at home?

But those differences can’t be made if nobody gets out and votes.

In 2016, estimates put the voter turnout at about 60 percent of the total population that qualifies to vote, regardless of registration. These numbers are on par with others reported by electproject.org for each presidential election. Voter turnout hovers around that 60 percent mark.

But in the last 17 years, midterm election turnout has been around 40 percent of the total eligible population, and even sunk below 36 percent in 2014. Data on voter turnout in off-year elections like this one, those occurring between presidential and midterm election years, is sparse online. But it’s safe to conclude that if 20 percent less people vote in the midterms, there won’t be a huge voter turnout for these off-year elections compared to the presidential election.

Today, go to your local polling place and bring that statistic up. If you’re mad about the construction project causing a ruckus down the block, or the awful condition of the city roads you travel every day, or you’re looking for reform in the local schools, it’s the local elections that are going to make a difference.

You have the say in what goes on in your communities. That’s why this country is so great. We as citizens are given the ability to vote for every level of public office from the local councilperson to the president.

This is your duty, America. You have a voice. Let it be heard.

Contact the writer: [email protected]
Twitter: @WeidnerTWW