By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Voting always matters. People were jailed, beaten and killed for the precious right to select our representatives to Congress. The American Revolution was only the first salvo. Non-landowners, women and former slaves had to keep pushing and bleeding for the right well into the 20th century.
It’s a privilege that all too often we decline to exercise these days. The turnout for elections typically peaks with national elections for president.
But with all respect to the nation’s highest office, today’s primary elections, along with the runoff Aug. 23 and general election Nov. 1, are the most important set of elections that every Mississippi registered voter can participate in.
The people who will hold these county offices make important decisions that directly affect your everyday life.
The supervisors are the folks who set the millage rate on your property. They get the garbage picked up. They pave county roads. They allot resources to volunteer fire departments.
The sheriffs keep the peace. The justice court judges set bonds and handle small claims court and misdemeanors. The constables make sure you get your court papers.
In many places, you’ll also have the opportunity to vote for county superintendents – the folks who guide your children’s schools. What could possibly be more important than that to a parent or grandparent.
These aren’t easy jobs. The people who are elected to these positions can’t do everything we want done. But they are responsible for the things that affect us every day.
I implore to consider if the candidates have the courage to stand up for their convictions, but they also have the patience and communication skills to seek answers and develop consensus that considers everyone, as well as the legal and budgetary limitations.
This is where we as individuals can have the most impact. Along with your state representatives and senators, who are also on this ballot, these are the people who have to listen to us. These are the people you will be able to look in the eye at the grocery store or the soccer fields, and say I’d really wish that you would consider this issue.
It’s not that statewide offices aren’t important. Only that I think people need to put as much energy into considering their local offices as they do offices that are higher up the ticket.
At times, campaigns can feel like a circus or worse, a junior high popularity contest. It’s up to us to demand more attention to the issues.
It’s not too late to make an educated decision. You can collect information at NEMS360.com and other local sources to get up to speed for today’s primary.
Then please, go vote.
Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.