In monitoring my local elections here in the Town of Brookhaven, NY as well as the Suffolk County legislative races I am aghast, but not really surprised at the dismal results coming in. No, this is not whether or not the Republican candidate won over the Democratic candidate. I am speaking of the percentage of voters that came out to vote. Not one seat that was up for grabs rose above 35 percent. That means that 65 percent of the registered voters stayed home.
Those voters who chose to stay home should be ashamed of themselves for doing so. Your local races are far more important than state races and even your federal races. Yet, I suppose some of those 65 percenters will from time-to-time call their elected officials asking for better garbage pickup. Maybe those who choose not to come out to vote in these local races should haul their own garbage to the dump.
Many will complain of their taxes and I have heard them within the supermarkets. One has to wonder out of all those that do complain if they bother showing up to the polls. They will go to their mail boxes, open up their tax bills and scream. These 65 percenters who scream out concerning their taxes yet fail to show up at the polls deserve their increased taxes. But, what angers me the most is that those of us who chose to come out to vote suffer for their inadequacies.
Winning the lowest percent of voters to come out and vote is the 15th legislative district in Suffolk County where only 16.72 percent of the registered voters chose to come out and vote. In that race there are 36,749 registered voters and at the time of writing this column, only 6,145 came out to vote. I would like to know where roughly 84 percent were and more importantly; why didn’t they show up to the polls? While some tallies are lower, those races only had one candidate running for that one particular seat. Still, those who chose to stay home should have come out and voted.
Winning the highest percentage of voters to come out was the 1st legislative district which brought out 35.32 percent or 19,535 out of 55,306 registered voters. I guess 35,771 voters could not be bothered, yet they wish for their elected officials to address their concerns and I find that offensive.
The town in which I reside, The Town of Brookhaven not one race rose above 30 percent of the registered voters. This is as local as your government can get. When your car hits that pot hole and you scream for it to be repaired, in the Highway Superintendent race, 27.31 percent of the registered voters chose to come out. All of which translates into 72,228 votes cast out of 264,474. To those 192,246 voters who chose not to vote, the next time your road is in need of repair, I am sure that your local Home Depot has patch kits.
The late Senator Patrick Moynihan once said, “All politics is local” and I truly believe that. I believe some but not all are focusing in on the presidential primaries which are months away from being decided. In focusing in on those races at the expense of local races, entire communities are feeling the ramifications. I have seen races separated by a handful of votes and often wondered if a race could have turned out different. It could have.
The late President John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” and I do believe what you can do for your country as well as your local races is to come out and vote.
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