I have a saying when it comes to elections. They all matter and the elections closest to you often have the biggest impact on your day-to-day life. Anyone with an overactive HOA can most certainly relate. But the pandemic has brought this into focus like never before in our lifetimes. Is it the federal government that’s decided whether your business is open or closed? Nope. It starts with the state government, right? Already the governor has become more important than the President of the United States in determining what we’re allowed to do and when. Now, as we’ve been reopening, has it been the governor that’s kept beaches and restaurants closed throughout South Florida most recently? No, that’s been a byproduct of decisions first made by the counties, right? Now once the counties have made their decisions to allow for reopening have all counties reopened their beaches and restaurants? Nope. That brings us to your municipal government. In this moment they are the single most important government in your life. They can determine what businesses are open and which are closed. Whether you’ll be allowed to go back to work or whether you’ll remain unemployed. You get the idea. And heaven forbid if you do have the overactive HOA.
What we’re living is the quintessential example of my saying. Maybe this will finally be the wakeup call for increased civic engagement and participation in local elections. I thought it’d be a good time to remind people of how the most influential people in our daily freedoms obtained their offices. Here’s the average South Florida turnout based on type of elections over the past decade:
- Presidential: 74%
- Mid-terms: 50%
- Municipal: 12%
Local officials elected in municipal elections are elected to their posts, holding the greatest influence over our daily lives, by an average of barely more than one in ten eligible voters. With nearly three-quarters of us turning out to vote for President, clearly it’s a matter of what we determine to be a priority. Hopefully this story illustrates how most have generally misplaced priorities when it comes to local awareness. The more you know and the more you inform and influence those who are like minded around you.
Photo by: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images