Vote April 6, 2021
While many of us are still politically burnt out from the 2020 elections, it’s easy to see why local elections historically have low voter turnout. There’s less pomp and prestige than in state and federal elections, much less media coverage, and often less awareness that they are even taking place. While 62% of eligible voters came out in the 2020 Presidential elections, local elections only average about 20%. While they have a small turnout, local elections can have a massive impact. The St. Charles, Jefferson, and St. Louis County municipal elections are April 6, 2021. So before we take to the polls, let’s talk about why you should participate in your local elections. Because Find the Light is an education-focused foundation, this will be mostly focused on school board elections.
We’ve all been told to vote in local elections, and we’ve all been taught that it’s important. So why don’t we? Our schools teach kids to be involved in their government and society but we as adults don’t always follow through. Staying informed in local politics is much more difficult than federal and even state elections, so it’s often up to the individual communities to inform each other. April 6th is when we get to show our students that there’s real power in community organizing and local elections.
Elections at the local level are where your vote counts the most. The decisions you and your neighbors make on election day have immediate and direct impacts on daily life. You get to have a say in how much of your taxes are collected, and you vote for the people who determine how that tax money is spent. The Fort Zumwalt School District has projected a revenue of $227,120,246 in 2020-2021. The two board positions being filled this year will help determine how the next budget is spent.
If you have a student in school, your votes determine who makes decisions that your kids bring home from school. 2020 showed us how important a school board is, and how vital it is that the community is involved in their decisions. If you agreed or disagreed with decisions a district made, April 6th is your opportunity to voice your opinion.
Speaking of voicing your opinion, the people you elect in local elections are directly accountable to you. If you email a senator you’re likely to get a form letter if they respond at all. If you email a school board member, whether you get an email back or not they’ve probably seen your opinion. They are members of your community. You can run into them in the grocery store and ask about their kids. If you have an issue you’d like the board to know about, you can stand up and speak to them directly once a month. School board members are supposed to be non-partisan, and these politicians can hear your opinions and explain their views. It’s antithetical to everything most people hate about politics.
Local elections are the place where you can make your voice heard. If you’re unhappy with how the schools are run or how your tax money is spent, you have the power to change that. You and your community can elect people who will listen, who will explain their logic. Big change begins in local communities and spreads. Your local community could implement the next game-changing national policy. Or, it could become a leader in education. The possibilities are endless and YOU get to help develop policies that drive your community. Local elections provide an opportunity for real civic engagement, not just angry tweeting and toxic party politics. By being an engaged citizen and holding elected officials accountable, you create the change you want to see. But you have to be a part of the process. When more people participate in elections and in challenging policies, those officials often become more responsive to your needs because you’re a voter. If they aren’t, the next election gives you a great path to address that and elect people who you feel will defend your needs better.
For more information on the Fort Zumwalt School District School Board Candidates, visit Find the Light Foundation on Facebook. Remember to make a voting plan and cast your vote April 6th.
For more election information visit: https://www.vote.org/
To learn more about the Fort Zumwalt School District visit: https://www.fz.k12.mo.us/