Well folks. We made it. Our relationship with this election season has come to the end of the road.
But unlike Trump and Hillary, we haven’t had the time of our lives. Instead, we’re all chomping at the bit to move our news cycle and our country on to something else.
But please, we beg of you, don’t move on until November 9. Even if you think your vote doesn’t really matter. Even if you’re so disillusioned by your options that you’re planning to stay home on Election Day.
Because here’s the thing. You’re right.
That’s a rare phrase to hear this election season, so we’re extending the olive branch on this one. The reality is that with the historic voting tendencies of our state, and especially our county, the idea that one individual’s vote for President will sway the direction of our electors is a fantasy at best. You are right.
So fine; skip the top race if you must. But don’t skip the voting booth altogether. There’s still a place where your voice can be heard, even magnified, if you look just down the ballot at the state and local races to be decided.
What these races lack in style they make up for in substance. A vote for your Statehouse or County Council representative is a vote for the person who helps determine funding for education and infrastructure. It’s a vote for the person who guides the development of our city and county. It’s a vote for the issues that affect your quality of life much more significantly than incremental policy change on a national level.
If even things like “infrastructure” and “growth” still sound vaguely unrelated to you, consider this. One of the items on our local ballot on Tuesday will be a referendum to allow Sunday alcohol sales throughout Greenville County. Currently, Sunday alcohol sales are limited to our municipalities. Besides the ability to brunch in peace wherever you’d like, this measure has significant implications for our county’s tax revenue and growth potential. It may sound trivial, but Sunday alcohol sales have propelled the growth of some of our smaller municipalities, and even downtown Greenville itself. Read more about the measure here, but the point is this: these local issues affect you, in more ways than one. Whether you are a small business owner, developer, landowner, or just your basic brunch enthusiast, the results of Tuesday’s election can help or hinder the growth of the place we all know and love. And it’s up to us to decide.
And make no mistake, choosing not to vote is still a choice. It’s a choice to let others control the direction of the city, county, state, and nation. Even if you agree with the others and just want to let them do the talking, don’t underestimate the weight of your own voice. During the local June primaries, in one particular Greenville County precinct, the race between two County Council representatives was decided by a difference of five votes. Five. You could have loaded up a few coworkers in your car, taken them to the polls, and changed the outcome of that election.
So this Election Day, we hear your frustration and your fatigue. We know you have a UGGGEEE headache. But we urge you, direct your energies down the ballot. We promise, something better is waiting if you move on down the (ballot) line.