OPINION

Local elections are critical to the success of our communities. Do your part and register to vote.

The Editorial Advisory Board

Is there something you don’t like in your neighborhood? Maybe a pothole, not enough streetlights? Have an opinion about the mill levy? Perhaps things are good but could be better.

We’re here to remind you that you have some agency over that. All you have to do is vote.

The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Andrew Bahl reported Kansans have two weeks left to register to vote or change their registration before the Oct. 12 deadline. Otherwise, they will be out of luck if they wish to vote in mayoral, city council and school board races.

If you’re not registered, now is the time to get that taken care of. If you’re not sure how to do so, there are plenty of community organizations who can help, including the folks at the Kansas secretary of state's office.

Local elections are critical to the success of our communities. Sometimes the decisions that most affect our everyday lives are the ones made locally, not in Topeka or Washington, D.C. Our school boards, city councils and county commissions are proof of that.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on just how powerful these groups are. Masking ordinances, stay-at-home orders and quarantines all have been heavily debated by these bodies.

These folks have the power to raise your property taxes, build new schools and change the conditions of the very street you live on.

They’ve made decisions our readers rejoice and disdain. But the difference between a local politician and a state or national leader is you probably have better access to them. You can discuss the issues with them and hopefully have a helpful dialogue.

So we hope you’ll vote in the upcoming local elections.

In an ideal society everyone would vote. We realize that’s unrealistic. Nevertheless, this is an election where your voice can make a difference. Often, local elections are decided by less than a few votes. As a result, your voice is even more critical than the presidential, senate or gubernatorial races.

Participate in local forums. Do your homework on the candidates. Look them up social media. Find an email address or even call them. They’ll more than likely want to hear from you. If they don’t, there’s your sign not to vote for them.

Here in Topeka locally, five council seats and mayor on the ballot. That’s a lot of power sitting in one room, and each of us has the privilege to determine who sits in those chairs.