Guest Essay: “Make a Change: Vote Local”

Guest+writer+Abby+Neubert+22+poses+with+Mrs.+Swanbeck+after+winning+the+Falmouth+League+of+Women+Voters+essay+contest

Guest writer Abby Neubert ’22 poses with Mrs. Swanbeck after winning the Falmouth League of Women Voters essay contest

Abby Neubert, Guest Writer

This spring, the Falmouth League of Women Voters sponsored an essay contest on the importance of voting local. Abby Neubert ’22 won the contest with her essay “Make a Change: Vote Local,” published here in the Chandlery’s End-of-Year edition. 

***

It is human nature for people to want things to go their way, but often they don’t take the steps that are necessary to make those things happen. Instead of standing idly by, you can take matters into your own hands. When you vote in local elections, you are taking a big step toward changing your community in a way that you desire. Instead of hoping for things to go your way, you can take control and help to turn those ideas into reality.

People often vote in national elections because national politicians address big issues such as racial injustice, climate change, immigration and taxes. It is at the local level – in our own state or town – however, where much of the action is taken. For example, you can vote for people who serve on different committees. There is the School Committee, whose job is to set goals and policies for the School Department and hire the Superintendent of Schools, who oversees the day-to-day operation of the schools. There is also the Planning Board; their responsibility is to recommend by-law changes and regulations that affect the long-term growth of the town, such as where different types of houses should be located. Lastly, there is the Town Manager, who carries out the ideas of the Select Board, who create the policies for the Town of Falmouth. When you vote for candidates for the Select Board, you are deciding who will hire the Town Manager and appoint residents to committees to advise on matters as varied and important as affordable housing, wastewater management and public health.  There are many more committees that are a part of the Falmouth government system, and all members have something that they are passionate about. You will always have a chance to vote on something that matters to you, whether that is legislation, a new person to take someone else’s place, or reelecting someone who has served the town well. You will always find something that you find important on which to vote.

The people who run our states, cities, and towns know how those places work. Those politicians live in the same place that you do, and they have the most direct impact on the community itself. By voting in your local elections, you can help your community to adopt the changes you want. By voting, you’re telling your community that you care, and that you want it to become a better place to live.

Now, you may be asking yourself, does my vote really matter?  Of course it does! If you don’t vote, your candidate is more likely to lose. There have been more than a dozen races decided by a single vote in the last twenty years. [1] All across the country, from Vermont to New Mexico, there have been local elections that have ended in ties or were won by a single vote. So, if you say that your voice doesn’t matter, well you are wrong; your voice might be the most important. You could be that single vote that breaks a tie or pushes your candidate to the winning side. Your vote helps make our town a better place. When we combine all of our voices together, we can create a great community that we call the Town of Falmouth.

[1] Montanaro, Domenico. “Why Every Vote Matters-The Elections Decided by a Single Vote (Or a Little More).” National Public Radio.