It’s time for us to vote for future of our county
Nevada County residents are political animals – or at least it seems that way if one looks at The Union’s Opinion pages come election time. This year, we’ve received hundreds of election letters, and we have managed to print almost all of them.
County political observers going back generations say this has been the most hard-fought and contentious campaign season in memory. And it isn’t over presidential or gubernatorial contests, or even Congress. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and uncounted speeches, debates and advertisements are being expended in the battle for control of the County Board of Supervisors.
At stake: the future of our way of life in the foothills, according to those who see the real struggle as being over the issue of population growth and property rights.
As Election Day quickly approaches, a look at the statistics shows how Nevada County stands apart when it comes to political activism:
— 83 percent of eligible voters (those over 18 years old) have registered to vote here, compared to the California average of 71 percent
— State election officials this week predicted that about 58 percent of registered California voters would turn out Tuesday. In Nevada County, the turnout was nearly 70 percent in 1998 in the last election with a governor’s race at the top of the ballot. (In presidential elections, it’s usually higher.)
But looked at in another way, it’s likely that only about half of Nevada County’s voters over 18 will vote. And although the county election office doesn’t track registered voters by age, we suspect many of those who will shun the polls next week are younger residents, those for whom the outcome – the quality of life here 10 and 20 years from now – is most relevant.
Some say that low turnouts are desirable, that it is better to leave voting decisions in the hands of those who spend the most time examining and debating the issues at stake. However, we fear that lack of voting reflects, rather than apathy, a creeping cynicism that one person, one vote cannot have an impact in the face of big money and power politics.
Now is the time for leadership in Nevada County, and that starts with all eligible voters casting a ballot that reflects their own vision for the future.
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From all the residents of Grass Valley Senior Apartments, thank you to the firefighters, police department air support and everyone who responded to the Bennett Fire. God bless you all. You are all heroes.