The best ways to start getting involved are often the most basic. The most basic—and the most important—is to exercise your right to vote.
Exercising your right to vote means voting in every election. That includes presidential and other federal elections, state elections, and yes, even local elections. It includes the primary elections in May, as well as general elections in November.
Think for just a moment about the many aspects of your daily life that local elections can affect:
- your children's education
- availability and effectiveness of our police and fire departments
- local tax rates (both Borough and School District)
- property values
- maintenance of roads and other important infrastructure
- real estate zoning practices
- garbage and recycling collection
- public parks
- community investments by state and federal government, as well as private sector grants and foundations
Many people are under the impression that local elections are not important, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yet in the 2009 general election, only about 16% of registered voters in Wilkinsburg turned out to vote. In Allegheny county, that number was 23%—about a third higher than in Wilkinsburg.
Year after year, voter turnout affects how seriously our community is taken by our state and federal representatives. For better or worse, communities who have a proven track record of turning out at the polls get more attention, and their issues are taken more seriously.
Neighbors Unite Wilkinsburg believes that increased participation in local government leads to more accountability and a stronger sense of community. Become a part of the positive changes taking place by getting involved today. Vote in the upcoming elections. Attend official meetings to learn more about what’s happening. These two simple actions form the very foundation of democracy in America.