Elections affect everybody in town; the money being sought is our tax money, and we have the right to have a say in where it goes. But only if we vote.
This is our town, and our views matter. But only if we vote.
As Americans, we’re proud of our right to a secret ballot, to vote on matters big and small, to show our patriotism by going to the polls. But only if we exercise that right.
Staying home is easy, but taking the time to cast an informed vote is what a democratic country expects of its citizens. Indeed, people take to the streets and literally risk death to demand free elections and the right to govern in countries across much of the world. 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.
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, all because we didn’t make the effort to vote.
If you don’t understand what you’re being asked to approve, seek the answer. The right to vote carries with it the responsibility of understanding the issues. It shouldn’t sway your vote that the budget committee – or your neighbor – favors or dislikes a warrant article or candidate. Think for yourself.
We think town and school requests should be handled the way we handle our checkbooks – can we afford it? Is it a necessity or a luxury? Is it something we can put off, or is that a false economy that will cost much more later on?
How about a union contract? If it covers just one year, its costs are likely to be clear. But most contracts are for two to four years. Make sure you understand the costs attached to each additional year – you won’t be asked to vote on it in future years, but the money will be added to the overall budget and will be part of your tax bill.
And if it’s a bond that’s being sought, make sure to find out how much in interest charges will be added to the bottom line. Or, what it means in coming elections. Like a 10 million dollar bond in the case of the Londonderry High School Auditorium.
We’d love to be able to say that Lincoln’s government “of the people, by the people, for the people” is more than a slogan in our towns.
For your own good and the good of the community, please vote March 10.