Next year’s general election is going to be monumental, for sure.
President. The entire House of Representatives. A third of the U.S. Senate. The entire state Legislature.
Anyone with any interest in the future of the country will make sure they’re registered to vote in that one.
But that election is 390 days away.
There’s another election that could be just as important that’s taking place less than a month from now.
And if you’re not registered to vote in it, you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to have a say in local issues that affect your life and your community in a very tangible, visible and direct way.
On the ballot this year are dozens of local races, including mayors and city council seats in Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, as well as county legislative seats, town supervisor seats, town board seats, some state judgeships and the occasional village mayor’s race.
Local boards control a significant portion of the taxes you pay. And they’re the ones that determine whether your local streets get repaired and plowed, how many police officers patrol your neighborhoods, the quality of your water supply, whether your local fire company and EMS squad are equipped and close by, and whether a developer can put a giant housing project or retail business in your community.
You might not ever have the opportunity to go to Albany or Washington and attend a session of the Legislature or Congress. But once or twice a month, you can attend a meeting of your local or county board and say exactly what you think and want from your government.
You might never speak directly to your congressman or state legislator. But there’s a good chance you might run into your town supervisor or councilman or county legislator at a meeting or at the post office, ball field or grocery store.
You don’t want to sit this election out just because you’re not registered to vote.
And if you’re not registered, you only have until tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 11) to sign up.
You can register online through the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Have your Social Security number and driver’s license, permit or non-driver ID number ready.
You can register by mail using registration forms available at most libraries, post offices and town and village offices.
You can download a registration form from the state Board of Elections website (https://www.elections.ny.gov). Print it out and mail it in. Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, so don’t dawdle.
Or you can register in person at your local Board of Elections and state offices, including the departments of Health, Labor and Social Services.
The election of Nov. 5, 2019, won’t come with the pageantry or world-level importance of the election of Nov. 3, 2020. But it will give you a chance make a real difference.
Make sure you can vote in next month’s election by making sure you register to vote by Friday.