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Vote and become a stakeholder

Staff Editorial

It’s not enough to go vote once in an election. It takes seeing a political contest through to the end if an individual’s vote is going to count for something.

In most instances, 40 percent or less of the eligible voters determine who will sit in elected office.

In the Nov. 5, 2002 general election – when Bob Riley was elected governor – 58 percent of Alabama voters went to the polls to make the decision, a bright spot for Alabama voting. Only the presidential election that defeated Pres. Bill Clinton had a stronger turnout – 66 percent.

In the run-offs that year – a Democratic race for the U.S. Senate attracted a miserable 16 percent. The Republican run-off for State Treasurer was even more dismal, posting only six percent.

Municipal run-off elections can be even worse, but exponentially devastating.

We believe that government closest to The People is best government.

It’s never closer than at the municipal level. There’s no elective office that can have a greater impact in our every-day lives than a mayor or a city council.

A mayor and city council can grow our cities, tax our citizens, or just simply finish us off through petty politics and private agendas.

That’s the reason it’s of vital importance to exercise our right to vote – in Demopolis, in Linden, in Greensboro – anywhere there is a run-off election to be had.

The more people who actually elect, in the final vote, the more people who have become stakeholders in our communities.

The more stakeholders we have, the better place our communities become because we realize that we are all in it together.

Today, three of the Black Belt’s key cities have the chance to alter courses if the citizens so desire. Qualified candidates and proven incumbents exist in each of the cities.

These men and women have put their names in the hat – for whatever reason – and have committed to making an impact in their communities.

The very least the rest of us can do is to go to the polls and vote.

It’s a simple matter, and should be easily completed.

Our challenge today isn’t to the candidates, but rather to We the People. Don’t be scared away from the polls. Don’t be coerced into voting contrary to your convictions. Turn out, show up and become a stakeholder. Our communities deserve it.