It’s that time again, elections! Most people in this country are so used to our system of voting with regularly scheduled elections for local candidates and proposals virtually every year that they quickly lose interest and often fail to make it to the voting booth. Although this is understandable given our busy lives, it is also really unfortunate. This singular right is by far the most important of all rights preserved and protected by the US Constitution.
This right is so fundamental and critically important for a healthy society because failing to make your personal choice automatically grants another person the power to structure, maintain and place their own values on your life. By not voting (or voting ignorantly), you are communicating that you do not have the will or desire to contribute to society or to protect your family.
This election year is significant for many reasons; locally, nationally and even globally. This year’s presidential election is like none before because never before have two candidates been so dissimilar, so polarized, so at odds with their respective party and with the attitudes and beliefs of the citizens of this country. Whether realizing it or not, every voter will be choosing what value they place on themselves, our culture and our way of life. This vote will also decide how we will respond to threats from nationalistic aggressors who want to destroy all opposition to their agendas or beliefs.
Clearly this is a very serious time with many important decisions to be made on a national level. But, it is also a great time to get involved in decisions on a local level that will improve the lives of those in our neighborhoods and community. There are many very qualified officials running for local elections from almost every area of government; school boards, drain commissioners, trustees, clerks as well as city and county commissioners. In addition to the selection of these leaders, there are several proposals under consideration for residents of Kent County and various towns.
Since most people never hear about proposals until they actually get to the voting booth, I think it is important to mention the two county-wide proposals for this election. You will see how both of these proposals will contribute to the health, welfare, advancement and enjoyment of Kent County residents.
The first proposal is for the enhancement of 9-1-1 services in the County for technology upgrades to emergency services. Voting “yes” will authorize the government to charge an extra $.70 per month to all residents who have services with “communication service suppliers.” The expected additional income from these taxes will provide an estimated $4.5 million for improving 9-1-1 services.
The second proposal is for the benefit of the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo. Voting “yes” to this proposal will increase taxes by $.44 for every $1,000 of taxable value on all real estate and taxable personal property (cars, recreational vehicles, etc). This is expected to raise an estimated $9.3 million in the first year and the funds will go to “establishing dedicated funding for the care of animals and artifacts, repair and improvement of exhibits, and providing enhanced educational programs.”
Whatever you decide to vote for or against, make sure that you are doing so for the right reasons. Think about what you want your community and country to value and choose the candidate or proposal you think will best get us there. There are as many different opinions as there are people voting. Be one of them!