The power of a vote

With just under three weeks until your local election, do you know who you’re voting for?

Do you plan on voting? Are you even registered to vote?

Shelton is facing an election year with no mayoral race for the first time in 26 years. Some people are speculating that with no opponent for Mark Lauretti, we could end up seeing a decrease in the overall voter turnout.

At the end of the day, it’s just speculation.

But at the same time, the possibility of that outcome is all the more reason to reflect back on why it is so important to cast your vote in the first place.

If you’re able to vote, you should begin to do your research on which candidates you think would best serve the community.

As cliché as it is to say, every vote does count, especially at the local level. The smaller the voter turnout, the greater the probability of an election coming down to a small difference of votes in a given race. You could be the deciding vote.

Still not convinced?

Even though no one is contesting Mayor Lauretti for his spot in office this year, are you aware of the seats that are up for re-election?

On top of every Board of Ed members’ seat being up for grabs, there are also three Planning and Zoning seats, as well as eight seats on the Board of Aldermen.

The various boards and commissions all hold responsibility and power that ultimately affect the community in one way or another.

You could potentially be electing someone who supports development that would affect your current living situation or change the dynamics of your neighborhood.

You may be skipping over a candidate who would be a more active alderman in your ward just because the person is a new face or is younger, with less experience.

You may not be aware of a candidate for the Board of Education who has stronger personal ties to the school district and can better understand the needs of students in today’s society.

How can you know unless you take the time to understand what your options are?

Also, if you truly support those running for re-election, it is just as important to cast your vote to support those candidates.

The point here isn’t to persuade anyone to vote one way or another, just simply to encourage people to vote, period.  

If you support a candidate who currently serves on a board or commission and you truly feel the person exemplifies a community leader that Shelton benefits from having in office, it’s your duty to help keep the candidate there. Without your support, these same boards or commissions could change for the worse.

Voters have the power to choose who their community leaders are, and it is a large responsibility.

Not being a responsible voter could affect you personally.