In about a month, voters will go the polls and vote in their municipal elections. They will choose candidates from either the Republican or Democratic parties to serve either as mayor or city/town council member.

In a year when foreign affairs and populist agendas have commanded attention, the enduring importance of local government has been easy to ignore.

While the presidential campaigns get most of the media spotlight, the president doesn’t have as much of a direct impact on the lives of citizens as you might think.

Our local elected officials are the ones who dictate the local laws, policies and budgets that affect us the most, and these officials are being elected every two years with little citizen involvement.

71144796_10215655724250599_3913346837431451648_nWhile voters may care about the issues, especially national ones, participation in local voting continues to decline.

Our local public servants leverage our property tax dollars to make big budgetary decisions that influence our local communities, from education reforms to community services and more.

Too often, municipal voting is seen as something that occurs once every two years — and that needs to change.

To have a greater influence over laws in your town, start by staying informed on local issues so you can use facts to define your stance before you vote.

Changing low voter turnout cannot start at the national level. Instead, it starts with voting for mayor, council, school board or voting in the next gubernatorial elections.

One’s voice can be heard, and one still can make a difference, but it has to start where it matters most: at the local level.

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