Do not ignore this election
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: This isn’t an exciting election year.
There’s no presidential or statewide candidates on Tuesday’s ballot. There’s no congressional campaigns, even though several Senate candidates in the 2022 races already are campaigning actively.
There isn’t a statewide ballot initiative as there have been in previous years.
There’s not even countywide races and no countywide issues in Trumbull County on the ballot.
There are two Mahoning County issues: a new 0.25 percent sales tax to raise about $9 million to pave more roads and improve bridges and a 2-mill renewal for the operations of the board of developmental disabilities.
But local elections are incredibly important — a lot more important than many people believe.
Turnout is going to be terrible as it often is in odd-year elections.
Significantly more registered voters are going to stay home for this election than those who cast ballots.
If Mahoning County breaks 30 percent turnout, it will be a surprise, and it’s supposed to be worse in Trumbull.
It’s a shame because these are the elections that greatly impact your lives.
Do you want to get more streets paved in your neighborhood? Do you want to maintain or increase police and fire services? Are you fed up with giving tax dollars to officials who you believe waste it?
Here’s your chance to have your voice truly heard.
I grew up in New York and moved here in 1995. When I came to the Mahoning Valley, I couldn’t believe people had the opportunity to vote on their taxes.
In New York, local officials determine tax rates each year and residents don’t get a say in that.
Here in Ohio, if you don’t want to pay for certain taxes, they usually come up for renewal every five years though some communities and school districts seek to make some permanent. But if you don’t like those decisions, you can vote against them.
How about who serves on your local board of education or city council or board of township trustees? Are the people who’ve held those positions doing a good job or is it time for a change because you’re not satisfied with the direction of your community or school district?
There are some races with candidates who are unopposed. But in a lot of cases you’re going to get the chance to either keep things going the way they are if you believe that’s a good thing, or you can decide to move in another direction if you’re dissatisfied.
Unlike the president or a statewide elected officeholder, you have a decent chance of running into your council member, township trustee or school board member in your community. They’re accountable to you in ways that those serving in higher office are not.
It’s also still relatively easy to vote in Ohio.
Yes, there are restrictions that make it difficult for some to cast ballots.
But if you’ve got a driver’s license or other forms of identification, you can probably be in and out of your voting precinct Tuesday in a few minutes.
Also, your vote counts a lot more in local elections because of the smaller number of people in communities are school districts compared with your county, state or legislative district.
When millions of people cast ballots, your individual vote counts a lot less.
If you live in a small township or in a city ward, your vote could play a key role in the outcome of an election.
Frankly, vote for your own selfish needs. If you’re not looking out for your best interests, who else will?
Skolnick covers politics for The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle.