There’s no excuse for not voting | In Our Opinion

Want to influence the course of your community’s development, get your name added to the history books, earn an extra $12,000 or $13,000 a year, and in some cases, get paid medical benefits too?

Just sign on the dotted line. In some cases, that’s all it will take.

Welcome to elections in Kitsap County.

Only seven of 64 positions up for election this year drew enough candidates to warrant a primary. In the Aug. 1 primary, only 26 percent of voters who received ballots turned them in. Qualifying for the November ballot for mayor of Kitsap County’s largest city required, for one candidate, 1,984 votes; for one candidate for City Council, 278 votes. Three candidates for Poulsbo City Council are unopposed in November; so is a majority of the Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners.

Every year, we hear the same excuses for the dearth of candidates and voters, i.e. “Voter turnout in primaries is always low.” “It’s not a presidential election year.”

We can’t think of a reason to NOT vote or, if you are so inclined, run for local office. Each candidate has his or her own ideas on how your tax dollars – your tax dollars – should be managed and invested for the common good. Each has his or her own ideas on how best to provide the services overseen by the office sought. Each, if elected, can have a more immediate effect on your life than state and federal legislators.

Those who seek local office know, or should know, that a large part of their job will be dealing with the aftereffects of laws adopted by federal and state legislators. (Three U.S. presidents knew that well, having served as mayors: Andrew Johnson, Greeneville, Tennessee, 1834-35; Grover Cleveland, Buffalo, New York, 1882; and Calvin Coolidge, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1910-11.)

Get to know the candidates and their stands on issues. Attend candidate forums. Read this newspaper’s upcoming profiles of the candidates. Look for Kitsap News Group’s voters guide in October. And, above all else, vote.