In an earlier post I stated that elections have consequences and outlined several of those consequences. Now as May 3rd approaches I feel that it may be time to revisit the issue.
Every state has some election occurring about every six months or so. These elections are for such things as Mayor, County Commissioner, etc. Most of these election go unnoticed by the general public and with the exception of a few yard signs scattered along the major roads and in a few yards there is nothing in the way of a campaign or discussion of issues.
The funny thing is that these unnoticed elections can have more of an impact on the daily lives of those who live with in the communities and states where these elections occur than any Congressional or even Presidential election. The political elites love the fact that these elections go unnoticed and have low voter turn out. This low voter turn out allows the elites to elect there selected candidates and implement policies that favor the few. These select individual can effect everything from school funding and policies, property taxes, public safety, and the list goes on and on.
While it is easy to blame the political elite for the dilemma the fact is you and I are to blame for this shameful lack of involvement. These elections can and do have very real consequences. Take for example what is going on in Ohio right now. The Republicans there are attempting to pass a law requiring that every voter have an official state ID. While I have not been able to to determine the required documentation for these “Official ID’s” What I do know is this, Unlike other countries of the world the United States has never before required it’s citizens to obtain and carry a specify form of identification. Also there is very limited discussion as to the impact such a law will have on the poor, elderly, and disabled. What would be the impact on these three groups in particular? First is the economic impact. Here in the State of Pennsylvania photo ID costs $13.50, now that seems to be a minor cost but that does not reflect the true cost to the individual. In addition to this official fee which represents at current minimum wage rates represents 1.8 hours of gross wages not net wages. Then there is the amount of time required to obtain this photo ID. Here locally an individual can spend 8 hours or more waiting to process the required documents necessary to obtain the required photo ID, another economic loss to the individual concerned. The impact on the poor could approach upwards of $46.50 in gross wages to an individual earning only $300 in gross wages per week assuming that the individual is working a 40 hour week. That represents 15.5% of a weeks gross wages and 19% of net wages. The impact on the elderly and the disabled would be just as harsh.
This is just one example of the impact these unnoticed local elections can have. There is also things such as Congressional redistricting. Redistricting takes place at the State level and the Elections for State Representives and State Senators determine just how protected Incombant Members of Congress are.
So I would argue that these unnoticed local elections effect the daily lives of more than any Presidential Election. My bottom line is get involved as all elections have consequences.