Local government makes America great

local governmentWith the exception of the photo of me here after having just voted early, there isn’t anything very sexy about voting in your municipal primaries. I guess that is the nature of local government.

Unlike voting for the President of the United States, when the polling stations are buzzing with enthusiastic voters both nervous and excited (the stakes seem so high), early voting this week was a regular bore. And if checking boxes is your thing, you’re likely to be disappointed. My ballot had only one race, Salt Lake City Council 5, with three people running.

I made my choice, confirmed my choice, snagged my sticker, and was on my way. Voting is always a little anticlimactic. This was especially anticlimactic.

But your local government does matter, perhaps much more than your federal government. And your vote in these races? Well, it matters even more. It’s important to remember that municipal races are often won by just a handful of votes. Whereas, especially if you are a progressive in Utah, your vote for President doesn’t have much of an effect.

Today is the last day of early voting for the municipal primary elections. Voting day is Tuesday, August 13.

Voter turnout for municipal races is disappointingly low this year, in keeping with historical trends. This is true even though for most Utahns, their main point of engagement with government is through their municipal leaders. Your chances of meeting the mayor are high. Your chances of meeting the president? Well, slim to none.

And then there is also the issue of the role of local government. Most Utahns run into the federal government in the form of the postal worker and their income tax bill. On the other hand, city and county governments decide property taxes, school boards, water levies, waste disposal, recycling, parks and recreation, fire and police, and the list goes on.

Local government is the backbone of America. Voting in the municipal elections is the best way to make sure our democracy flourishes.

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