The decision is yours
Usually I write about elections just after the fact. More often than not, at some point in the article I lament at how poor the turnout was. The last primary election was no different. Quite simply, if there was no local race, there was very little local turnout.
For the upcoming election I decided to write about the outcome before most of the votes are cast. A few citizens have already cast early votes, but even that turnout has been low.
Despite the increasingly frequent ads on seemingly every network, I am not sure that people are actually grasping the importance of this election. Football, crops and weather top the conversation over politics at every coffee shop table. I am guilty myself.
Perhaps we are weary of the attack ads. I sometimes want to scream at the candidates to tell me something positive that you want to do, not how horrible your opponent is. Unfortunately, negative advertising works and that is why we see so much of it.
Perhaps we think our vote doesn’t really count. After a lifetime around politics, my election as mayor this past year made it crystal clear to me that even today every single vote does indeed count.
Perhaps we think that nothing will change no matter who we vote into office, so why bother. I happen to believe that good people run for office. The system may be broken but we still attract, for the most part, people who care and who want to make a difference.
So maybe, just maybe, we should look at ourselves and decide that just one more time we are going to participate in an election.
What does that mean? Try to find out what is important in this election. For Seminole County, there is much more to decide than just who will be our next Governor and Senator. We have much at stake on November 4 and many local citizens don’t seem to be aware.
First, we have a renewal of the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST V). This is not a new tax, but rather the fifth extension of a tax that was first voted in almost 20 years ago. While as Mayor, I can’t actively encourage people to support the SPLOST vote, I can tell you that there are many projects for Donalsonville, Iron City and Seminole County that are included.
Take the time to check these projects out. After all, it is your tax money. If you don’t like it, then vote no, but don’t let the decision be made by people who don’t take the time to go to the polls.
There will be referendums about liquor by the drink in restaurants, as well as Sunday beer, wine and liquor sales. This is being driven by the economic reality that adjoining counties are capturing the visitors and their dollars when they visit the lake on weekends.
It is my opinion that these referendums need to pass for both the city and the county. To attract the facilities, the visitors and the tax dollars that come with them, we must be able to compete in the modern world.
Once again, vote against these resolutions if you must, but vote your conviction and don’t let a small minority make the decision for you.
You have less than two weeks to make decisions that will affect you and everyone around you. Nationally, we will determine who controls the Senate. This decision will have huge implications for us as Americans.
Locally, you will decide about the funding of dozens of projects for the next six years. You will decide about the type restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores that will or won’t locate in this community, both in the city and at the lake.
But first, you and you alone must decide to vote. The decision is yours.
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com