The 2015 elections are coming up next Tuesday, essentially “hiring” our Elected Officials to make important decisions on our taxes and the other policies. Yet only 11% of the eligible voters turned out for the Primary Elections back in September. Low turnouts mean the votes of a very few can determine the outcome that affects everyone.
Why is this election significant? The positions of Town Supervisor and some of the Town Council are being decided in each of our 6 towns; as well as the Mayor and some Trustees in the Village of Brewster. The District Attorney race and 3 of our County Legislators – representing parts of 5 towns (Scuccimarra/Osborne: Philipstown and part of Putnam Valley; Nacerino: Patterson; Castellano/Riley: part of Southeast and Carmel). Town Clerks, Town Justices, Highway Superintendents are also on the ballots, as is a choice for Judge in the NYS Supreme Court-9th Judicial District.
People in many different countries in just the last few years celebrated when they had their first chance to vote in free elections – remember the purple thumbs? Yet Americans know so many people who don’t bother to vote, saying, “My vote doesn’t count.” Really? In 2013 an upstate election for Town Supervisor was decided by one vote, after two disputed votes for the opponent were thrown out in court. Perhaps there were a few people in that community kicking themselves the day after for not showing up at the polls!
Even a vote for an unopposed candidate is a vote of confidence and thanks for their service. If you submit a ballot but did not vote for an unopposed candidate, that fact will show up as a poor response from the total number of voters. That sends a message too.
Every voter’s ballot counts. Please exercise your right and the privilege of casting a vote on Tuesday, November 3rd.
– Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce