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KATIE ZERR: Important local decisions make voting essential

With only two races in the balance in Mobridge, will voters show up to the polls on Tuesday?
Although it probably doesn’t seem as important, with only city council and school board on the ballot, voting is just as or more important on the local level than ever.
Those sitting on the school board and the city council decide on what our tax dollars are spent.
On the council, they decide where budget cuts are made when revenue is low and they decide what are our city’s priorities.
Members of the Mobridge-Pollock School Board make decisions that not only impact your tax dollars but also the lives of the children of this community.
It is important to fill the spots on these boards with thoughtful, open-minded individuals that are willing to look at all the facts before making decisions that impact all members of our community.
Voting is the truest act of a democratic society. It should not be taken lightly nor should it be blown off because of the perceived lack of importance of certain elections.
In elections where there are not multiple races or races on the national level we tend not to take advantage or minimize the importance of our vote. Voting is not only our right, but also a privilege. It is an essential part of our lives on the local level and of our nation’s success or failures.
Throughout our nation’s history, people have fought, and died for the right to vote.
Most of us had no rights to vote in the early years of our democracy. In 1776 only those white, male, landowners were allowed to have a say in our government.
It’s been a long road and a constant battle that grants every citizen the right to go to the polls. The 15th Amendment, passed in 1870, guaranteed the right for all men to vote regardless of race.
It wasn’t until 1920 that Congress passed the 19th Amendment and granted women the right to vote. It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that gave the right to all races.
There are reasons that at this time of the year, there are pushes for everyone to vote. Making excuses not to go the polls in smaller elections is ignoring the fact that not voting can itself be a way of voting. If registered voters don’t practice their rights to vote, those who do are given the right to decide who will make the decisions for our city and for our children’s education.
If we ignore these smaller elections, we may be stuck with individuals who don’t have the greater good in their minds, but have personal agendas that are not in the best interest of the majority in our communities.
It has happened on the local, the county, the state and the national level.
Unfortunately, we have a tendency to forget about those days when things have been running smoothly for some time. But there are important decisions looming on the horizon in the near future.
In this young nation, our short history often provides lessons for the present.
We are currently living one of those lessons.
By not going to the polls and casting a vote, we are allowing those who do to have the only voice in our local governments.
All voters have the right and need to have their voices heard otherwise change will not happen.
Voter apathy allows governments to control the citizenry instead of vice versa. Americans should never allow this to happen. Voting is our power as well as our right.
No time in history is more important than others. All votes are important in the long run.
Are there issues that are important to you on the local level? How about in the county or in our state?
There is another election on June 5 that will set the tone for the future of the county and state governing bodies. All those allowed to vote in the primary elections should make their voices heard on all levels.
Our votes do matter. It is very important to be informed on what is happening in the city, school district, county and state levels. It is important to pay attention to what is happening on the national level to prepare to vote in November.
As our youth prepare to vote for the first time, it is important for older voters to stress how important it is for them to go to polls.
Power is in the hands of the citizens, and voting is an important aspect of every community government.
Although the Tuesday, April 5, election may not seem as important as some, the lack of citizens exercising their right can have lasting consequences.
There is an old saying about getting what one pays for.
That is also true about getting what you don’t vote for.
– Katie Zerr –