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Our View: Voting in local election races matters

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Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A single vote certainly does matter — especially when it comes to local election races.

That’s the finding of a recent statewide study by the nonpartisan voting rights group Democracy North Carolina, one that is backed up local elections officials in the Twin Counties.

As reported by staff writer Lindell John Kay in Friday’s edition of the Telegram, Democracy North Carolina’s researchers identified 69 North Carolina towns and cities where a seat was won by five or fewer votes and  31 cities where one vote decided  an election race during the 2015 municipal elections.

In Nash County two years ago, Michael Coleman defeated James “Butch” Mull for a seat on the Nashville Town Council by five votes and in Edgecombe County, Princeville Town Commissioner Linda Joyner defeated Ann Brown Howell by a single vote.

Board and council seats and mayoral posts in 16 municipalities across the Twin Counties will be up for election on Nov. 10. These local election races never tend to generate anywhere near the attention and participation that statewide and presidential elections do, usually posting dismal voter turnout percentages that rarely manage to climb into the low teens.

And that’s unfortunate, for the candidates that fill city and town government posts tend to have a much more direct impact on local residents’ lives than national and statewide office holders ever do. 

Elected officials in local towns and cities are responsible for making decisions that usually have an immediate effect on the everyday life of their constituents — tax and utility rates, road repairs, public safety measures, zoning laws, recreational and cultural events and opportunities, just to name a few.

One-stop early voting currently is underway for these municipal races in the Twin Counties. It’s a fast and easy way to exercise your right to vote. Nash and Edgecombe county residents can register and vote at the same time. 

Nash County residents can cast ballots at the Nash County Board of Elections Office in Nashville. Edgecombe County residents  can vote at the Edgecombe County Administrative Building in Tarboro. The one-stop voting sites will be open through Saturday. So take a moment to cast a ballot in your local municipal election — it could well make a difference.

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