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September 21, 2023

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Local elections have significant impact on voters

This past Tuesday was Election Day all across Ohio. This being an off year, turnout was woefully but predictably low.

On a personal note, this was the first general election I have not voted in since becoming eligible to vote 24 years ago; I moved to Columbus too late to switch my registration from Lucas to Franklin County. Despite this past election not being a congressional or presidential election, many local offices and levies were voted upon. As always, I find the results fascinating.

What I find most intriguing is that so many of our fellow citizens could care less who represents them on their respective city councils, mayoral offices, school board and the like. Yes folks, who runs your town or county makes a difference.

There is very little glory in being a city council person, most of these citizens run for these offices because they truly care about issues, municipalities, school systems and people. They deserve to be lauded not with words but with deeds. Those deeds are attention and votes; nothing more and nothing less.

While who represent us is vitally important, we all know that without funds, nothing is accomplished. I take particular interest in not only who wins, but also what issues are successful.

The three I pay most attention to are mental health levies, levies that deal with senior citizens and school levies.

I understand that no one likes paying taxes but it is indeed the price we pay to live in such a nation as this.

That being said, I have noticed through the years that most levies for mental health boards or facilities such as Wood Lane in Bowling Green usually pass. Levies for senior transportation or other programs that help our older citizens usually pass too.

What continually astounds me though are that these “yes” votes are so close. Who are these people who vote against these types of levies? How hard is their heart?

The great liberal vice president Hubert Humphrey once famously stated: “It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

The government starts with us, with our vote and the people we elect. It also starts with caring enough to help those who need help. If we cannot vote to help senior citizens or the developmentally disabled, then what kind of people are we?

As for the children, I personally have voted for every school levy put in front of me. Strong schools equal strong communities and strong communities equal a strong America.

It is that simple. Yes, our way of funding Ohio’s schools has now been unconstitutional for 19 years but that is not the school systems’ fault. Those who vote against our schools must demand action in Columbus, not a third grade classroom.

It is also time for our school boards to get serious across Ohio when faced with a shortage of funds. If a community will not support their school system, do not support them.

Do not threaten to cut busing and extracurricular activities: do it. Will this hurt the students? You bet it will. It will accomplish a goal though; it will wake voters up that school systems need funding. Crying wolf every election only makes funding opponents stronger.

Next year’s election is a big one. We will pick a governor along with all other state offices plus a new Congress and Ohio House. This will make voter turnout pick up some and that is good.

The 2015 election will be like last Tuesday most likely; ignored. Please keep in mind that just because a governor or president is not being elected does not mean that not voting is fine.

It is our number-one civic responsibility and to not do so is unacceptable.

Remember those Hubert Humphrey spoke of. Those in the dawn, twilight, and shadows of life are counting on our votes.

Respond to Paul at

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