On Tuesday, Robeson County residents who live in municipalities will head to the polls to elect the people who will decide property tax rates, how tax dollars will be spent, zoning disputes, what streets will be paved first and countless other issues that affect their everyday lives.
But elections officials predict that one out of five eligible voters will bother to take the time to cast a ballot, which shifts a lot of power to those who do meet this civic responsibility. This election is absent the national, state and countywide races that push people to the polls in high numbers, but a strong argument can be made that the winners of those elections have less sway over our lives than do those who sit on municipal boards.
The low voter turnout is expected even with the convenience of 2 1/ 2 weeks of early voting, during which about 1,200 ballots have already been cast. The turnout is sure to suffer as there are no competitive races for Lumberton Precinct No. 1, which always votes heavily, or city mayor.
In Lumber Bridge, Orrum, and Raynham, write-in ballots will determine who sits on town boards as there are more seats available than there are candidates.
But there are plenty of spirited races, in St. Pauls, Pembroke, Lumberton Precinct No, 5, Red Springs and Maxton, just to name a few.
On the Sunday before municipal elections we always encourage voters to take the 15 minutes that is required to vote, reminding them that never is the tired adage that every vote counts more true than when we elect mayors and town board members.
While your vote will never decide who is president, it might decide who sits on the town board.
As an example, it was just four years ago a that Lumberton City Council race ended in a tie before a revote was ordered. There is a rematch of that race on Tuesday, although a third candidate has joined the fray.
Voting is not only a civic duty, but failing to do so is shameful, especially when American soldiers remain in harm’s way protecting our freedom, which can only be assured as long people participate in the democratic process. Your role in that process is the easy one.