It’s the year of the midterm elections and if you’re anything like me, you’re still exhausted from the 2016 election. However, that won’t keep me from doing my part to be involved but that’s not the case with many people my age.

In 2014, the United States saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years in the midterms.

We continually have the lowest voter turnout in all elections as 18-24 year olds.

Why is that when we as millennials seem to be the ones most opinionated and we are in a society where everything is political yet we can’t seem to show up to some of the most important elections?

Here are 5 reasons to pay more attention to your local politics:

Your local elections will affect you more than the national politics.

These local elections are determining a myriad of things that will affect your life directly. They include things like public transit, problems with local schools, infrastructure, and bonds. The people you are voting in to these local elections are the people you will have the easiest access of communicating. This makes it easier to right the wrongs in your communities and see change without the heavy bureaucracy of national and sometimes state politics.

Local elections determine a lot of what happens within your personal finances.

The people we elect to our state government and local governments are the ones who are deciding the amount of taxes you pay. By paying attention to the budget’s in your state, county, or town, you can see where your tax payer money is going. With that information, you can decide who you think would best be suited for that office if you don’t think the incumbent is doing a good job.

You will learn the issues facing your own community.

Making a change starts from the ground up. By getting involved in your local elections, you’re going to learn about your community and the challenges it faces. Oftentimes, we find ourselves arguing over what is happening in someone else’s state when we are facing very different issues in our own municipalities that need just as much of your attention. Sometimes, paying attention to things going on in other states is of great benefit because then you can keep your own local official accountable so the same thing doesn’t happen where you are residing.

You will the see the impact.

Local politics normally moves at a faster rate the our national politics does. When you vote for the new county Sheriff, you will likely see the new administration’s changes rather quickly. Another example would be what happens within the local school system like rules within the schools, safety measures, and funding for teachers to have more materials without the teacher reaching into their own pockets. Even advocating for better infrastructure like road conditions, street lighting, sidewalks, or bridges.

You can make the difference.

Problems you are facing in your town are often overlooked by people because they aren’t paying attention. The media tends to not cover the local politics nor do they tend to televise town halls. By paying attention, taking action, and voting in these local elections, you can be the change your town needs. More young people being involved in the process makes sure that generations before us aren’t the ones telling us what is best for us in the community when we probably see problems that they do not.  

The midterms are upon us. Primary season is happening. Local elections could swing your state legislature, your city council, or who is on your school board. New bonds are being introduced and initiatives will be on the bills. But will you be there to vote?

You better be!

Your vote matters, especially during the midterms where it feels like hardly anyone is voting. It’s time that we paid attention.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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