Make It More Than a Slogan

Londonderry Supervisor of the Checklist Geraldine “Gerry” Van Grevenhof wants people to come out and vote March 11.

“The elections affect everybody within the town,” Van Grevenhof said. “The money that’s being spent is their tax money and they should have a say in it.”

Next door in Derry, Town Moderator Margaret Ives gives her annual plea for voter turnout. “We have the right to vote and we need to exercise it,” Ives said. “This is our town. And town elections matter.”

Derry Supervisor of the Checklist Lorraine Routhier, who has been working at the polls since 1952, added, “We are fortunate to be able to vote the way we do. It is an honor.”

Well, it’s not an honor or a right or a chance to have a say if you stay home and don’t exercise it. And while staying home is easy, taking the time to cast an informed vote is what a democratic country expects of its citizens.

We let ourselves and everyone else down when we ignore the election, then we find ourselves taxed out of our homes and represented by people who embarrass or upset us – think the Derry Town Council – all because we didn’t make the effort to vote.

People take to the streets and literally risk death to demand free elections and the right to govern in countries in Europe, Asia and South America. They look to the United States as an example of how government by the people should be.

And what do we do? In a state that offers just about the best opportunity for people to participate in self-government, we see turnouts of 10 percent at town and school elections.

Do you like that $3,000 tax bill twice a year? If not, why didn’t you try to amend the budget, or offer your views on long-term bond articles, or throw your hat in the ring when filing time rolled around? The mirror is a great place to look for why your taxes are so high.

So what’s your excuse? Hopefully you won’t need one, and will get to the polling place or fill out an absentee ballot and vote on warrant articles and on candidates or write-ins for public office, both school and town sides.

In Sandown, when enough interest was generated in the Timberlane school budget, a crowd finally came out to deliberative session. Wouldn’t it be great if that kind of attendance became the norm, and government “by the people” became more than a slogan.

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