Tomorrow is primary day in Indiana. While thousands of voters will turn out to perform their basic duty as a citizen in a democratic society, even more will remain at home. Ironically, turnout is often at its lowest during local elections when each individual vote matters the most.
Simply put, your vote is rarely more crucial than during local elections. Not only do local elections afford greater access to candidates – they may even be one of your neighbors – but individual voters often have an outsized influence on the outcome.
While presidential and statewide elections are often decided by tens or hundreds of thousands of votes, local races often come down to a handful of votes. As a share of total votes, your vote carries far more weight in an election with a few hundred voters than in an election with millions of voters. Your vote may be decisive.
This year is particularly important. South Bend is electing a new mayor, and the race is wide open. Only a handful of incumbents are running for re-election on the city council, which inevitably means that change is coming. The policies, priorities, and budgets that will shape this city for years to come are on the line. Why would you sit this out?
So just remember as you consider whether to vote tomorrow that there are no ‘off-year’ elections. Each and every election matters, but local elections are where you as a citizen have the most impact.
South Bend Voice is dedicated to providing a platform for voters to get informed. That’s why we published a series of candidate statements, which you can read here. We also encourage readers to visit Vote411.org to see who is on the ballot at your particular precinct and read candidate responses to questions from the League of Women Voters.