Special Projects, Super Tuesday

Why it’s important to vote in all elections, not just for president

Politics can be a lot to keep up with, especially in a primary season as tumultuous as this one. Between Sanders’ meteoric rise, Bloomberg’s non-disclosure agreement debacle, or the infighting between Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, there is almost too much happening.

Despite this, we absolutely cannot forget the elections that most directly affect us: local ones.

Along with the primary millions of people will be casting votes for their local governments, something that is unfortunately overlooked by many.

These politicians impact their constituents directly. These are the people who run our police departments, maintain our roads and dictate local policy.

So it’s a real shame that we pay even less attention to them than we do senate races, which are also poorly represented.

Long Beach’s elections will be held on March 3, and while the website is somewhat … archaic, it is a great tool to see which candidates represent your values.

Take for example the recent dispute over short term rentals, which many felt were disturbing their neighborhoods. 

This sort of issue isn’t going to be handled by the state or federal government, but it is critically important to the people who live in these districts. 

The issue was controversial, with much of the council split on what to do. This election would be a perfect opportunity for citizens concerned about the issue to show that with their vote.

This is an issue with a huge impact on those it affects, and voting for Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden or Donald Trump will do nothing about it. 

If my house was suddenly flanked by dude-bros throwing a rager, it would really sour my day, and it would be my local government that I’d have to turn to.

And there are compelling reasons to stay locally informed this election season.

A recent video of Long Beach police officers beating a man with a nightstick sparked a protest outside of city hall.

One of the focuses of the protest, beyond demonstrating against the police, was voicing their concerns with Cindy Allen, a retired police officer and candidate on the local ballot this election.

The protestors brought up issues with her close relationship with the police department and cast doubt on her ability to represent a diverse population.

It is great to see people interested in things outside of the presidency, and we should follow suit.

If everyone took such an active and involved role in their neighborhoods, the average person would have much more power to shape their immediate surroundings.

So before March 3, please educate yourselves on the candidates who aren’t household names. Your local vote could very well be the most important one you cast.

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