EDITORIAL: Importance of Voting in off year elections

There may not be a President up for election in November, but that doesn’t mean the election is not important.


Image courtesy of wikipedia

PA Governor’s election results of 2014

TOWAMENCIN- Voter turnout for local elections across the United States is dismal. Without the glitz and glamour of Presidential and Congressional elections, years in which there are only local and regional elections don’t draw as many voters to the polls. According to past Montgomery County election data, the 2013 elections had a voter turnout of only 27.86% in the town of Lansdale. For comparison, one year earlier for the 2012 elections voter turnout in Lansdale was 71.39%.

So why aren’t people voting in local elections?

It may be because they don’t have the same attraction as the major elections, but the elected officials are just as- if not more- important to our daily lives as the President of the United States. Locally elected officials dictate local laws and budget policies that affect citizens more than most national policies. Community public servants are responsible for deciding where community members’ property tax dollars are spent. They dictate spending for programs from welfare to education. Local officials also maintain public safety within their communities, including how law enforcement officers should be trained. It is extremely difficult to find one thing in your day that is not affected in some way by local government. What students learn is decided when the School Board determines curriculum. The roads people drive on are maintained by the local bureaucracy and governmental departments. The water people drink might come from a public water supply, managed by local officials. This is why it is so important that citizens are not politically apathetic during odd year elections. If people have the ability to vote, why shouldn’t they vote for officials who will represent them on policy that affects them the most. If someone has a strong opinion on a certain issue, his or her voice should be heard in local elections. Local election votes will not be wasted.

Make sure if you are 18, or will turn 18 before November 7th, that you take the time to register to vote. To register in Pennsylvania go to www.pavoterservices.pa.gov to fill out a voter application. An official applicant must be a United States citizen, be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district for at least 30 days before the next election, and be 18 years of age on the day of the next election, November 7th. The application deadline is October 11th, so even if the applicant is not 18 before this date, as long as he or she will be 18 on November 7th, he or she can still register to vote. Within a week the applicant will receive an email about the status of the application, and within a few more days a voter registration card will be mailed to the applicant’s home. The process is extremely simple, and once completed you will be able to fully represent yourself at the ballot box.

Also, North Penn School Board elections are part of the election cycle this November. As an opportunity for community members to familiarize themselves with the candidates, the Knight Crier will be hosting a Town hall. All community member are welcome to attend the event at North Penn High School on October 18th at 7 p.m. Anyone who would like to submit a question that may be addressed during the program can send it to Knightcrier@npenn.org, and it should include name and municipality of residence.