Many people who complain about the dreadful condition of our electoral process frequently sit on their hands when it’s time to vote.
And when they do so, they cite the standard excuses for their inaction. They say, for example, there aren’t any good candidates out there or that politicians don’t listen once they’re in office.
Some people refuse to vote as a way to penalize their political party for ignoring a preferred candidate or policy position. Others can’t bother taking time to cast a ballot because they’re convinced government actions don’t really affect their daily lives.
The concerns that people express about the state of our modern politics are valid. Individuals who seek elective office have been known to lower the volume when it comes to the voices of their constituents. And many candidates appear to be as bad or worse than their rivals.
Oftentimes, participating in elections doesn’t seem worth the effort. Little seems to change, so what’s the point? It’s easy to fall into despair regarding our experiment in representative democracy.
However, candidates who are in this game only for themselves count on such apathy. Low voter turnout perpetuates corruption and blatant self-interest.
Part of the problem with our system is that most of the attention is paid to the candidates. And while it’s important to know who’s running and where they stand on various issues, this shouldn’t come at the expense of the most important element of any campaign season: the voters.
Elections are, in the long run, less about the candidates than they are about you, the individuals who entrust these people to serve in this capacity. We don’t hold elections merely so a portion of the U.S. public can wield a certain amount of power. While many candidates believe it’s all about them, they’re wrong.
We hold elections to transfer the reins of limited authority to selected individuals who have committed to pursuing your best interests. The citizen is the primary focus of each election held.
There wouldn’t be a need to conduct elections if the main goal wasn’t to ensure that the government was serving their needs. No election is inconsequential, and voter participation in all of them is crucial.
The way we choose elected leaders remains incomplete if large numbers of eligible voters stay on the sidelines. This is because the results of such an election do not truly represent the will of a majority of the governed.
Tuesday’s primary will winnow the field of candidates for the non-partisan Watertown City Council and mayoral races. Republicans will be chosen in municipal elections in other parts of Jefferson County including the towns of Antwerp, LeRay and Wilna as well as the village of Alexandria Bay.
Lewis County residents will select candidates in countywide primaries for clerk, treasurer and several legislative seats. Democratic and Republican primaries will be held in the town of Croghan. GOP primaries will be held in the towns of Grieg, Lyonsdale and Pinckney as well as the village of Constableville.
In St. Lawrence County, Democratic and Republican primaries will be held for Clifton town justice. Conservative and Republican primaries will be held for Lisbon town supervisor and clerk. A GOP primary will be held for Ogdensburg Town Council, and a Democratic primary will be held for Potsdam Town Council.
Every north country resident has a stake in this system. Don’t let others dictate these vital aspects of your life without adding your voice to the mix. Track down your polling place and vote in Tuesday’s primary.