Local Elections Matter: October Soapbox

Anne ThompsonThe following letter was submitted in the Coloradoan, the Reporter-Herald, and the Collegian.

Vote411.org, the League of Women Voters of Larimer County voter information website, provides unbiased information for informed choices.  You can register to vote, or check/edit your registration. With your address as input, Vote 411 displays personalized ballot information.  Candidates introduce themselves, their positions, and respond to questions about issues.  Ballot issues are posted with discussions from proponents and opponents.

November 7, we can make choices: board members for Poudre and Thompson school districts, mayor and city council members of four wards in Loveland.  Issues on the ballot include broadband and marijuana policies for Fort Collins, term limits and fairgrounds tax for Larimer County, and a bond issue for residents within Loveland’s Downtown Development Authority boundaries.

The PSD candidate forum organized by LWVLC is scheduled for 7-8 pm October 5 in Fort Collins Council Chambers, 300 LaPorte, to be rebroadcast on Channel 14.  The September Loveland and TSD candidate forum can be viewed on Channel 16.  Both will be on lwv-larimercounty.org.

Every four years, national attention focuses on Election Day.  But that is not the only time voters have an opportunity to exercise their right to vote.  State, county, city and other special elections may be held in “off-years”, or a different month, allowing resources to be directed toward local officials and issues, and providing smooth transitions in governmental bodies like legislatures and boards.

Voter turnout for such elections is lower than for presidential elections.  According to the Coloradoan, fewer than 40% of active voters in Larimer County participated in the 2015 coordinated election, DOWN from 48.5% in previous “off-years.”

Local elections matter.  Results directly affect quality of life where we live.  Local governments manage things we encounter daily – streets, schools, parks, police and fire protection, and local taxes and policies.  Decisions made at the local level often become national policies.  Because the voter pool is relatively small, a few or even a single vote can make a difference.

Ballots arrive in late October mail. Let’s do better in 2017.  Check out Vote 411.  Become informed.  Complete and return your ballot.

Anne Thompson, Voter Service Team


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