“The most impactful voters are the ones that show up.”
So read a campaign slogan of a few years ago (Jason Zandri, running against incumbent Wallingford Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.) that remains as important a message as ever.
Whether people heed that message this time around remains to be seen. Though past performance is no guarantee of how things will turn out (that is my “glass is half full” observation) it is rather discouraging.
Municipal elections are extremely important. The outcome of those elections have a more direct impact on your life, as in the taxes you pay, the education of your children, the maintenance of your parks and public places. The list can go on.
Despite this, turnout for municipal elections tends to be sluggish, and typically lags far behind their more high-profile counterparts.
Last year, despite a major party candidate issuing a warning about a “rigged” election (that candidate, by the way, is now president of the United States) voter turnout in Connecticut was impressive, at just below 77 percent. That turnout was bolstered by advances in voter registration. About 200,000 registered online in 2016. There were also 40,000 who registered to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
While this was encouraging, a presidential election is, of course, as high profile as it gets. A high voter turnout on Tuesday would be more meaningful.
It won’t take much to beat the more recent municipal election turnouts. In Meriden in 2015, just 28.2 percent of the city’s registered voters exercised their right to vote.
Consider that Kevin Scarpati beat Manny Santos by just 77 votes that year to become the city’s mayor, and you can easily gauge how important voter turnout is.
This year’s municipal elections feature an impressive list of candidates. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity to express themselves on these pages in opinion pieces about their campaigns.
Whether they’ve earned your vote is up to you, of course, but I’d like to think they’ve earned your participation in the election process.
Reach Jeffery Kurz at 203-317-2213, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @jefferykurz.