750,000 people flooded the streets for the Women’s March in January 2017; however local elections struggle to obtain the same political interest. Participation impact in local elections can be just as large, if not more significant than participation in a protest. Now it’s time to put all that into action into voting for the candidate that represents whatever ideology you believe in as the November 6 General Election races forward.
Why aren’t people as enthralled by their local elections as large protests? The United States trails most developed countries in voter turnout, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. The March 2017 election garner a 11.45 percent voter turnout, said the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in a tweet. A small amount of voters were speaking for a huge number of L.A. County residents.
One reason for the lacking participation is limited outreach to potential voters. There is no human connection to the names on the , and it’s up to the voter to do a couple hours of research before casting the ballot. The charisma that presidential candidates bring gets people out of their cars, houses, and daily routines to go vote. People want to support someone who is approachable and personable. The lack of that trait was how Donald Trump gained so many supporters that continue to ignore his flip-flopping on policies and one of the biggest critiques of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Presidents are talked about often and media coverage gives the illusion that they have more of an impact than any other position. The reality is that local elections affect one’s life and finances more. For example, Pasadena passed Measure CC, which repeals the city’s ban on marijuana related businesses, by over ten thousand votes. This contrasts to the federal policy of prosecuting marijuana related charges and Pasadena’s original modus operandi of ignoring cannabis dispensaries operating in the city.
There is rarely the same presidential enthusiasm and marketing behind a city council member or county judge. This lack of social buzz snowballs into a mentality of, “nobody is voting, so why should I?”
Voting can often seem like a drab task. It’s a citizen duty on par with taxes and jury duty. But it doesn’t need to be a boring endeavor that requires tedious research. The solution is twofold. First, have local candidates do more outreach which will help the whole community express their views by voting on all ballot measures and candidates. Second, make voting thrilling and a rite of passage. Make voting in your first election be as equally exciting as getting a drink at midnight on the day you turn 21.