Every vote counts

Election inspectors examine voter rolls between voters March 16 during the village of Copenhagen’s election. A new mayor and one new trustee were added to the board while one incumbent resecured his seat. Julie Abbass/Watertown Daily Times

Don’t tell the residents of Copenhagen that voting doesn’t make a difference.

High voter turnout in the March 16 village election resulted in a new mayor and new trustee. A total of 191 residents came out to case ballots. That’s more than 47% of the 401 registered voters in Copenhagen.

A heated run-off culminated in a coalition government with winners from both of the micro-parties and a new vision at the top. Mayoral challenger Mark Souva, who ran on the Team with New Vision, garnered 128 votes, winning decidedly over incumbent Mayor Kenneth Clarke with 87 votes,” according to a story published March 16 by the Watertown Daily Times. “In the race for the two trustee positions up for grabs, newcomer Shareef Stokely, also of Team Vision, topped the pack with 116 votes to join the board. And incumbent Gerald Snyder, who ran as part of the Home Team with fellow sitting officers, will keep his seat with his 107 votes. Ronald Vogt came up seven votes short for a Team Vision full sweep with 101 votes, while long-term Home Team Trustee Gary Parker ended with 94 votes.”

The article reported a key shift will occur based on this recent election: “Tuesday’s results will change the balance of power in the village’s government with Team Vision more aligned with sitting Trustee Kim Vogt, who was usually a lone voice in discussions and decisions.”

There are about 800 people who live in Copenhagen, so more work needs to be done to see an increase in registered voters. And there’s always room for improvement when it comes to voter turnout.

But to have nearly half of those on the voter rolls participate in a municipal election is quite an achievement. This demonstrated a significant interest in what the Village Board of Trustees is doing and how the village is faring.

The people of Copenhagen should feel proud of the high turnout and keep up the efforts to get more voters to the polls in the future. This is the essence of self-government. Progress on the part of public bodies depends on voter participation, and we’ve seen it carried out well in this instance.

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