For the November 2005 elections, Norfolk had 105,022 registered voters. Unfortunately, only 42,634 of them bothered to vote. When you look at the number of people who vote in council elections, the numbers get even worse. The last council election in May 2004 (the two superwards) resulted in turnout of only 5,980 voters, an abysmal 5.8% of the then 103,164 registered voters. In May 2002 – the last time we had the five smaller wards up for election – only 18,832 people bothered to vote.
This May, we once again have the opportunity to vote for the smaller wards. We also get to elect out mayor for the first time. I applaud the efforts to get people registered. But to me, it is more important to get the folks already registered to participate in the process by getting out to vote.
The members of council make decisions that affect our daily lives. They decide the real estate tax rate. They decide how to use our money for the public good. They make decisions on investing in our schools. “All politics is local” is not just the catchy title of a book.