Election Day is Tuesday, March 14. In the days between now and then, we hope you’ll listen to candidates speak, read their words, and reach out to them about the issues that concern you.
The March election has no state or national candidates, and that’s traditionally bad news for voter turnout. That being said, we remind you that your vote has far more impact on local government races than it does on the state or federal level, and likewise the outcome of your vote on the local level has more of an impact on you.
Equally important are the warrant articles on the town and school ballots, whether it’s the school budget or a request for new communications equipment, funding for roadwork or for construction of school classrooms. Town and school requests should be handled the way you handle your checkbook: can we afford it? Is it a necessity or a luxury? Is it something we can put off, or will it end up costing much more later on?
If you don’t understand what you’re being asked to approve, seek the answers. The right to vote is important, but it carries with it the responsibility of understanding the issues at hand. It shouldn’t sway your vote if the budget committee or your neighbor favors or dislikes a warrant article or candidate, you should consider the source.
We’ve asked candidates why they’re seeking office. We’ve also reviewed warrant articles in past issues. Here are a few pointers: On a bond, pay attention to the financial obligation imposed for each year of the bond, as the money will come out of your pocket for the life of the bond. 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 that 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 money isn’t everything. Does the contract take into consideration the economic downturn? Are workers paying more of their insurance these days? Be sure to get the full picture, because the choice is yours.
Each article has its pros and cons, and it pays to listen to both sides. Many people like to pride themselves on their patriotism, and there’s not a much better way to express your patriotism than by heading to the polls and making informed choices. So for your own good and the good of the community, please vote March 14.