To all the students that voted: Give yourselves a pat on the back! Student turnout was the highest it has been in a long time, and it made all the difference in elections across the nation.
Now I know 2020 is right around the corner and the first instinct is to think about the presidential race. But don't forget the municipal elections right here in Bloomington. Might I remind you municipal turnout four years ago was the lowest in the nation. Let's change that come election day on May 7. I strongly urge you to at least make an informed vote for the following reasons:
1. Local politics matters
As they say, "all politics is local". Not only do local elections set the stage for the state and federal political climate in the future, but local government has a large influence on policy that, chances are, affect you personally.
2. Your vote has the most say locally
Your vote always counts, but it counts most in local elections where not only a smaller scale election makes for higher relative influence of your vote, but your vote has even more of a say once you factor in the usual lack of voter participation in municipal elections.
3. A lot is at stake this year
This election is ridden with many complicated issues, which include, but are not limited to affordable housing, poverty and homelessness, the environment, criminal justice reform and city development.
Mayor John Hamilton, along with the Bloomington City Council, are all up for re-election. As of now, Hamilton has one declared challenger: county commissioner Amanda Barge. The city council race entails five district-wide races, three at-large positions, and this election looks to be a crowded field with the amount of city council candidates that are running.
Walking around IU, I have seen and talked to many politically passionate students, and the energy really showed this midterm. What I hope is that this energy returns this municipal election.