Our View: There’s no excuse not to vote
Nevada County takes pride in its voter turnout, as it should.
The question is — will the implementation of the Voter’s Choice Act increase that participation?
We’re one of five counties trying something new this election. The Voter’s Choice Act meant every registered voter was mailed a ballot. Voters can complete their ballots and mail them back in. They can drop them off at one of several designated spots. Or they can vote in person at vote centers, facilities that replaced traditional precincts and are open for a handful of days before, and including, election day.
Maybe you could argue in the past that life got in the way of voting. Wailing kids. Horrible job. Something stopped you from voting on one particular day.
Not anymore. The ballot was sent to your mailbox. In Nevada County you need no postage to send it in.
The excuses are gone. The ballot is waiting on the dining room table with a voter guide nearby.
Do your homework, learn about the candidates and issues and cast your ballot. This is, after all, our community and state we’re trying to run.
As of Wednesday, local elections officials had received 11,756 ballots, they said. That means about 17½ percent of registered voters have already cast their ballot.
We’ve got a ways to go if we’re going to exceed past turnout.
Almost 45 percent of registered voters turned out for the June 2014 primary election. That climbed to 68 percent in the June 2016 primary election. The November 2016 general election saw over 75 percent of voters cast ballots.
We might not be able to match turnout in a presidential general election this coming Tuesday, but we certainly can exceed 45 percent.
There’s a good argument here about the importance of local elections. A presidential election draws people to the polls, but it’s elections like Tuesday’s that we really should focus on.
The offices of sheriff, district attorney and the District 3 spot on the Board of Supervisors are up for grabs. These are the folks who enforce the law, prosecute those who violate the law and help craft policy that affects everything from where you can build a house to whether you can grow marijuana outside.
Creating treaties with foreign countries is important, no doubt. We’d argue that local sales tax has a more direct impact on your everyday life.
Learning about candidates running for office is key before casting your vote. So is discovering what local ballot measures would do.
Measure D, which would provide almost $19 million for the Grass Valley School District, would increase property taxes for district property owners.
Measure E is for Grass Valley residents to decide. If passed, it would replace an existing half-cent sales tax with a penny tax expected to raise around $5.4 million a year.
Measure F would affect cannabis businesses in Nevada City, raising between $120,000 and $135,000 each year if it passes.
Nevada County again has an opportunity to take pride in its vote turnout. There’s no president on this ballot, but that’s no reason to avoid what’s not only a right but a privilege.
We create the county, state and nation we want every time we have our voices heard at the ballot box. The Voter’s Choice Act should act as the tool that increases our turnout.
Get educated. Know the candidates and issues.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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