I am running for Mayor, but it would be foolish to hope for a low turnout and target a small constituency that would most likely vote only for me. REGARDLESS of who gets voted into office, the effect of a high percentage turning out would make our requests and needs as a city begin to float to the top of our elected official’s agendas. Our representatives at the capitol in Atlanta and at the county level already pay attention to and care about our city, but they would give our elected body in the city more consideration and weight if our voter base turned out in a big way. The power of voting locally is real. Elected officials are more responsive and engaged with a public that votes. When I was elected in November of 2011 to Ringgold’s city council, I received 135 votes out of roughly 1,850 registered voters. That is under 14% of eligible voters. If that number were closer to 50%, and we had nearly 1,000 voters come out during our next election, that would turn some serious heads.
We need all groups and ages to get to the polls and send a message to the larger elected community that our citizenry is engaged and active. I truly believe that you could vote for a person that may not be best for the job, but still have a net positive impact on our community because of the stronger voice we would be speaking with through our collective votes.
Breaking turnout records is not only achievable, but also something we should strive for as a community in order to ensure our city is taken as seriously as possible at the county and state level. Voting means so much more than one candidate or one office. Our voice is only as loud as it is large. We won’t always vote for the same people or the same political party, but voting locally in large numbers makes our community stronger and more viable in the larger political landscape.