Posted on 24. May, 2012 by Kristen Tribe
Friday is the last day to vote early, and it’s no secret that local voter turnout has been low. Democrats, in particular, are dragging their feet but understandably so. With a presidential candidate already chosen and no candidates in local races, a trip to the polls probably seems pointless.
But I’m here to offer an alternative. No matter your party affiliation, consider voting in the Republican primary. This is the only way to ensure your vote “counts” in Wise County and that you can have input in local politics. A few Democrats have already taken the plunge.
Weak knees and queasy stomachs were reported, but there have been no long-term side effects. Let’s face it, the politics of one party or another don’t affect how daily business is conducted in Wise County government. I wish local candidates didn’t even have to pick a party. An “R” or “D” beside a name doesn’t mean a thing.
A Republican county commissioner doesn’t pave roads any differently than a Democratic commissioner. Does party affiliation really make a difference in the job of justice of the peace? I’m not convinced it does. At least not here.
Locally, I think it’s about working together to run the county. Officials seem to make decisions based either on what’s best for their precinct, no matter Republican or Democrat, or what’s best for the county as a whole. There may be other subgroups to which they answer or allegiances to which they feel obligated (family and friends), but none of those are tied to party politics. Of course, there are always officials that make bad decisions or “don’t play well with others,” but that’s more often the result of personality quirks or poor judgment. It has nothing to do with a Democratic or Republican agenda.
I think the candidates themselves would agree, especially when you consider how many local candidates were once Democrats and switched parties to keep their jobs. It was a move forced by straight-ticket voting, creating a game with only one team.
It’s reduced elections here to one-party races, and although that could change in the future, it might not happen for a long time. Until then, consider exercising your right to vote, overlook party affiliation and cast a vote after considering the qualities and experience of each candidate.
Are party lines more important than community?