By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
This Tuesday, November 3, thousands of eligible Rockland County voters will abdicate their civic responsibility and fail to exercise their right to vote. Even though this right is one of the most distinctive characteristics of our American society, voter turnout in national elections has fallen below 65 percent. Sadly, this percentage is even lower in state and local elections.
For the past three decades, the number of registered voters who go to the polls on Election Day has been largely stagnant, despite increasing efforts to make it easier for people to cast their ballots. According to the Government Accountability Board, this nationwide trend of voter apathy is only bucked occasionally during presidential or key gubernatorial elections.
While much attention is already focused on the 2017 race for the White House, it can be argued that your vote this Election Day has a much greater impact on your daily life, especially when it comes to future generations in Rockland County. As someone who also served in the Rockland County Legislature, I know full well the impact local government has on our daily lives.
The Legislature is the chief policy-making body for Rockland County. In discharging its responsibilities, the Legislature operates through seven standing committees, working with the Executive Branch to make decisions in the best interest of the local taxpayer. While my job involves running the day to day operation of our government, the Legislature appropriates the funding which keeps the operation moving forward.
In my administration’s first 22 months, we’ve dramatically improved county operations and made great strides to strengthen Rockland’s financial condition. We’re on the road to building a government that is better managed, more efficient and more accountable to the public. We’re working to bring economic opportunity to our five towns. We can only accelerate our considerable momentum by working with the Legislature to achieve positive results.
Take a close look at your local campaign this year. Read the published bios of the candidates and ask them their opinions on what matters most to you. Talk with them about the future of our county. Look carefully for those who want to move our county forward.
This is not the time watch from the sidelines. Democracy is not a spectator sport. History is made by those who show up. It is our collective responsibility to engage fully in supporting the best candidates for office and holding them accountable to the electorate, so that the overall meaning and performance of an elected government is elevated to its highest standard.
I hope to see you at the polls on Tuesday.