Sunday, February 10, 2013

Voting in the Lehigh Valley

I’ve written a few times before about voting. I consider it both a right and a privilege, just like controlling the radio station when I’m the only adult in the car. (Then WHYY it is. Sorry, Ellen.)
So why is it that so many of my fellow citizens choose not to exercise their right to vote, particularly in local elections? Do they not feel informed enough to make a choice? Do they not realize that many local elections are “decided in the primary” since members of the Other Party are rarely elected to certain posts?
The first time that I registered to vote, it was in the District of Columbia. DC’s license plates don’t say “Taxation Without Representation” because it’s a witty rhyme. It’s because the residents of DC don’t have any voice in the US Senate, and their one Congresswoman can only vote in committee. I marched up to the elementary school near my dorm (later, apartment building) and voted in every election. I loved that DC’s Wards each elected their own representative to City Council. It bugged me that Eleanor Holmes-Norton never garnered enough respect/pity/attention to advocate for the voting rights of half a million US citizens.
I changed my registration to PA when I moved here in 2006. I own property, pay school district, County, City, State, Federal taxes. Local elections are often decided by a couple hundred votes, and the elected officials often make decisions that directly affect my family and me. Why on Earth wouldn’t I vote?
Primary elections are coming up in both Northampton and Lehigh Counties, and there’s a mayoral election in Bethlehem that I’m closely connected to. I encourage you to carefully consider the candidates, and have your say on May 21. If you aren’t currently registered to vote, there’s still time to contact your County voter registration office.

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