Editorial: It’s important to vote in local elections too


Tuesday is Election Day.

And because many voters are still suffering from “ballot fatigue” from last November’s often hyperbolic and hysterical presidential contest, a reluctance to go to the polls four months later is understandable. But go you must.

Why? Because the outcome of dozens of races in 21 Palm Beach County municipalities — including several mayoral — will have more immediate impact on the lives of the county’s 1.5 million residents than last fall’s debilitating contest.

To be sure, local races aren’t really known for great voter turnout. Too many elections in our municipalities are decided by a paltry 5 percent turnout at the polls, according to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office. But that’s the point.

“It’s really kind of disappointing, to be honest,” one first-time municipal candidate told the Post Editorial Board. “People complain about not wanting their property taxes to go up, but won’t participate in the election that decides who can change their property taxes.”

Indeed. After all, President Donald J. Trump isn’t exactly worried about the future of the old A.G. Holley Hospital site in Lantana — much less its airport. Boca Raton’s traffic congestion issues aren’t about to grab his administration’s attention. And neither is Jupiter’s back-and-forth over the future of its beloved Inlet Village.

There are also ballot questions in four municipalities, most notably in Lake Worth, where voters will be asked whether the town’s mayor and commissioners should serve three-year, instead of two-year terms beginning in March 2018.

Who does care about these issues — or professes to — are the nearly 100 candidates running in more than three dozen municipal races today. And they deserve your attention.

We, on the Editorial Board also care. That’s why we spent two solid weeks researching and interviewing candidates — those that would meet with us — so that voters would be better informed about those who want to make decisions about how residents’ tax money is spent.

Voters can disagree with us. That’s fine. Our end goal, as always, is for the electorate to be as informed as possible.

Greenacres, after several years of divisiveness centered mostly around one individual, has a chance at a fresh start at bridging that political divide. The same can be said of Lake Worth, Lake Park and Delray Beach. All have a chance at better cohesiveness that will allow their respective councils and commissions to do better by their residents.

All that’s left is for those residents to do is vote.

ELECTION COVERAGE

To see The Post Editorial Board’s endorsements in 15 cities’ races, visit PalmBeachPost.com/endorsements.



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