One Simple Step to Better Local Government

Most of us step into the ballot box relatively blind and uninformed. It’s hard to stay on top of all the issues and almost impossible to really get to know one – let alone all – of the candidates on the ballot. This is especially true when it comes to local elections, which happen to affect most of us the most on a day-to-day basis.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that everyone attend every meeting of their local government, but going to one a year isn’t too much to ask. Showing up at one local board meeting can provide a glimpse of which officials lead and which follow. It can show you who the yes men are, and who brings ideas to the table. It can also show you how issues are discussed and decisions made, which will help you prepare for that inevitable day when something you care about comes before the board.

Most important, it’s likely that you’ll be able to add something to the discussion. A perspective the board doesn’t have on an issue, an idea that will lead to a better solution for your community. Maybe some expertise even.

So before the next round of local elections, try to make it to just one meeting. Set aside three hours of the year, and at least you’ll have a face, a voice, and an impression in your mind when you put ink to the ballot.