Municipal Elections Make a Difference

Published 4 weeks ago - 1


Written by Maureen Lynch

Passing brightly colored lawn signs, banners, and cheesy smiling faces are familiar fixtures from September to early November. Even though it isn’t a presidential election year, people will still be heading to the polls on November 3 to vote for municipal positions. Though their role isn’t as publicized, local officials play a central role in how communities function through maintaining the daily life of the city.

Worcester, Massachusetts specifically is holding elections for the positions of mayor, district 1-5 city council seats, at-large city council seats and school committee. The Telegram and Gazette has written an article dedicated to who is on the ballot for each position and voting information.

These positions influence many aspects of life in Worcester, but also for many towns across the country. Mayors head municipal government, working as the mini president of the town.

The at-large city council can be viewed as taking the role of the legislative branch in the municipal setting. According to worcesterma.gov, city council members “are responsible for representing the interests and needs of their city and community.”

City council seats in specific districts are even more specialized, working as a legislative branch for that specific area.

According to worcesterschools.org, the school committee works to make policies for the schools in that community.

All these positions are integral to the functioning of the community. They make the decisions that directly affect you and your families. Federal law matters for overarching trends of laws in the country; however, municipal laws are what is enforced in the community.

The Harvard Political Review wrote an article about the importance of municipal elections. It discusses how federal laws can influence how local policies work; they do not greatly contribute to how local infrastructure runs. Municipal policies are the only true way to affect change in local communities. According to the article, “local government officials can vastly improve living conditions via infrastructure updates.”

Another aspect not often considered is that neighbors and friends are the ones holding office. They are members of the community and are highly connected to the town’s culture and social structure. Connection to government is integral to making it work well for citizens. Thinkers from Aristotle to Montesquieu write about the importance of government as enacting the will of the people.

Voters, therefore, hold immense power. Government is meant to advocate for people’s needs and writes. People give up their power when they do not vote. And people rarely vote in municipal elections. According to nationalcivicleague.org, “the turnout for local elections is historically both low and less representative of community demographics.”

So please, get out and vote this election season. Government is only beneficial if people work to make it so, which means you must make your voice heard. Municipal elections directly affect you and how your community operates. To learn more about your local elections, you can search the web for more information, especially on government sites.

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