Opinion

August 18, 2013

Qualifying for city elections starts soon

Many people don’t pay much attention to city elections. The percentage of registered voters turning out for these races rarely breaks the single digits. And too often, few candidates bother to run. Over the last decade or so, there have been several years when some local cities didn’t even have to hold an election because only one candidate qualified for each office that was up for grabs.

Yes, the federal deficit and health care and Iraq and Afghanistan are important and vital issues and we understand why people care so much about them.

But local government likely plays a bigger role in our lives than the state or federal governments. We are certainly more likely to interact with local government that the state or federal governments.

When someone calls the police to report a robbery or an assault or a drunken driver weaving down the road, a local sheriff’s deputy or police officer will almost certainly be the one who responds.

If you want to get a build a house, rezone some property or get a business license, you’ll have to talk to someone from your local government.

The vast majority of the property taxes we pay go to local governments, as do a significant chunk of the sales taxes collected locally.

Voters in cities across Georgia will go to the polls in November to choose mayors and city council members. And in those cities — such as Dalton — that have their own school systems, they’ll select school board members.

Qualification for those races takes place during the last week of August. If you’ve got an interest in local issues, live inside one of our local cities and have the time and dedication, you might think about running for one of those council or school board seats. If you know someone you think would make a great council or school board member, you might encourage them to run.

Voters deserve a choice every time they go to the polls. We hope that many qualified men and women will step up in a couple of weeks to offer them that choice in this year’s city elections.

 

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