Blog: Why Local Elections Are Important
“Talk is cheap, voting is free; take it to the polls.” --Nanette L. Avery
You either hate him or love him.
No one can argue that the President of the United States, the man occupying the most powerful office in the world, is without controversy. He’s loud, outspoken, and can’t be controlled.
I don’t have to convince you of how vital voting is during a presidential election. The president is the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. He has the power to veto legislation, nominate Supreme Court Justices, negotiate alliances and sign treaties. The position holds such immense power, and the elections are so publicized that it’s easy to forget about local elections.
So while you may know where President Trump stands on abortion, or what former Vice President Joe Biden’s stance is on the Minimum Wage, do you have a clue who’s running for Mayor? Can you name your current Sheriff?
It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t answer those questions. Why? I didn’t think that local elections mattered. I didn’t see how they affected my life. And the truth is, most of us don’t.
Mayors, Commissioners, Sheriffs, and District Attorneys can have a significant impact on your life, and voting for them based on political party, or the fact that they attend your church is naive. At the local level, party doesn’t matter like it does at the state or national level. What matters is character. And voting based on their church attendance?
“Sitting in a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.”
It’s all about perception. Political figures know this and exploit it to their advantage. A good rule of thumb…don’t look at how they treat their equals, watch how they treat people who can’t do anything for them. Then you’ll see their true character.
Why does it matter? What power do they really have over us?
Mayors and Commissioners set policies that affect the businesses in our towns, either creating or killing jobs. They set budgets and manage our schools and emergency services. They can ruin the local economy and endanger our children and our personal safety.
Sheriffs are responsible for law enforcement. They make arrests, patrol the streets, and execute warrants. If they’re good at their job, their citizen’s rights are upheld, and their community is safe.
But what if they’re corrupt?
Corruption takes many forms in a sheriff’s office. There’s the obvious—drug busts where portions of the ‘evidence’ suddenly disappear, complaints about police impropriety going missing, and the use of intimidation to solicit sexual favors.
Then there’s the not-so-obvious, and less talked about form of corruption—illegal search warrants, violations of citizen’s rights, and the abuse of power for personal vendettas.
In corrupt counties, the sheriffs are kings. They wield more power than most people realize, and if you think you’re safe from their tyranny because you’re a good, law-abiding citizen, you’d be mistaken. We’ve received reports over the entire district from people just like you. People who’ve never had legal trouble. People who’ve worked hard all their lives and never thought they’d have reason to fear law enforcement.
Unfortunately, they were wrong.
Then there’s the District Attorney (D.A.). The D.A. works with law enforcement, and among their many duties, decides which arrests to pursue taking to trial. When the D.A. is unbiased and does their job well, the guilty pay for their crimes, and the innocent go free.
While a corrupt sheriff may be king of the county, a like-minded District Attorney is god of their district, acting as judge, jury, and executioner to anyone they disagree with. They can ruin your life without a scrap of solid evidence, cost you your job, drag-out legal proceedings for years, and then go home and sleep like a baby every night.
This is why local elections are so important. Mayors, Commissioners, Sheriffs, and District Attorneys can affect your life as much as any president ever has.
So open your eyes. The election is coming soon. It's time to get informed and take a stand.
Major Election Dates (dates have been changed due to COVID-19):
Primary Election June 9, 2020
Runoff Election (tie-breakers) August 11, 2020
General Election November 3, 2020
Georgia is leading a national effort to make sure every American has access to a paper ballot system. This is supposedly a more secure system.
You can watch the video above, but basically it goes like this:
1. You'll insert your voter card into the touchscreen ballot marking device, and make your selections.
2. Your choices will be printed out on a paper ballot, and you verify that what you chose on the touchscreen is what's shown on your paper ballot.
3. Then you scan your printed ballot on the secure scanner provided. This ensures that the machines haven't been tampered with and gives a way to verify votes if it ever comes into question.
If you obtained an absentee ballot and decided you'd rather go to the polls, you can. Instead of mailing the absentee ballot, carry it with you on Election Day. You will have to turn it in to the Registrar's office before you can vote, but you will still be able to vote at the polls that day. For further information, please call your local registrar's office.
Appling County 912-367-8113
Camden County 912-576-3245
Glynn County 912-554-7060
Jeff Davis County 912-375-6635
Wayne County 912-427-5951
You can verify your voter data and voting location at https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do