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jca's avatar

How knowledgeable are you about politics in your local municipalities?

Asked by jca (36059points) September 20th, 2013

In doing some political activities for an organization that I work for, I had several opportunities to speak to the general public about local politics. It was surprising to me that some people did not know that they were supposed to vote in the September primary.

Also, as someone who works for a county government, we always find that many people are not aware of what services their towns are responsible for, what the County is responsible for and what services come from the state. People flush their toilets, turn on the faucet, without a clue. Their roads get cleared but they don’t know what agencies clear what. They don’t know their local politicians (County government legislators, for example) and how the voting process works for the local county government. They are unaware of budget hearings and what the details of the budgets and legislations are.

Many people don’t seem to find it important to vote in any elections other than the Presidential ones.

Are you knowledgeable about local government? Do you know who your local politicians are? Do you think it matters?

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13 Answers

DWW25921's avatar

I think it matters and I think it’s a mentality of, “out of sight out of mind.” Folks just expect certain things to magically happen around them and they don’t give it a second thought. I expect, for example, the town to plow my road in the snow and the county to build enough schools or close them whatever the case. I think awareness will be the precursor to involvement. As for me, I know the mayor and he knows me. I vote for what I think is best for my community. Maybe if municipalities utilized press releases more often than more people would become aware, perhaps?

gailcalled's avatar

With 1600 people and about 1000 registered voters in my community, I am very aware of how things work and how things run. The highway superintendent is responsible for the 57 miles of dirt roads and when mine is too rutted, filled with pot holes and corduroy, I simply call him and complain.

We all have septic systems, the firemen are volunteer and need to know where the nearest pond is in order to drop their hoses, and all water comes from our wells.

We sit on the shoulders of the members of the town board when they balance the budget; they know that they will have to deal with us when we meet at the post office to pick up our mail (no mail delivery here either except for the occasional RFD on the one main road.)

We also get to chat at the town dump because there is no trash or recyclable pickups either.

I work for the local Democratic party and sit at the polls at election day. WE ALL KNOW who votes for whom and what.

The only safe topics for discussion are often the weather and the high school football team (they always lose).

Seek's avatar

Our voter turnout rates are abysmal even on presidential election years.

Not that it matters. Most of the time no non-republicans bother to run. If they did they’d be lambasted in the local free papers, that all seem to be run by churches.

Also, it’s the area that kept the same guy as Mosquito Control director four times because he used his convenient nickname, “Skeeter”, on the ballot.

Berserker's avatar

I vote all the time, and try to figure out the score. I’m no good with politics but I try to keep up with what’s going on and who does what. Do I think it matters? I don’t, but I could be wrong. I’m just glad I live in a place where I am allowed to vote, whether it does anything or not haha.

Headhurts's avatar

I don’t know a thing about local politics, don’t know who anyone is or where they are or what they stand for.

anartist's avatar

As Tip O’Neill said “all politics is local.” and I live on Capitol Hill—see my 2008 presidential vote here

anartist's avatar

re above picture link: exiting polling place at
Washington DC

two blocks from Capitol

during a prolonged and unpleasant litigation I was made aware through the discovery process of local councilperson’s staff’s activity n behalf of counter-plaintifff. Not cool.

Pachy's avatar

Truthfully, I am even more baffled by my city’s confusing local politics than by national ones, which discourages me from participating in them as I know I should. Bad pachy!

Blackberry's avatar

1/10. I’m just passing through this state and don’t care about its problems (Virginia).

Linda_Owl's avatar

It does MATTER. The main problem is that there are no school classes that address this problem. Kids need to know the ins & outs of the assorted Political Parties & who their representatives are & what is the responsibilities of these assorted political representatives. It should be taught starting with the freshmen class in high school. However, I am not sure that Civics is still taught in the last year of high school (I think I remember that Civics class was being ‘phased out’). Unfortunately, the big corporations that have taken over all three levels of our government, do not want educated & informed voters – because they will not make as much profit as they will off of people who have no idea of what is going on. Remember what George Carlin had to say about people who try to think for themselves… the government & the big corporations who run our government do not want educated voters.

anartist's avatar

@Blackberry where do you call home? Do you care there?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I am a member in several organizations, the local politicians are also members. I am recognized by members of the Town Council, Police and Sheriff. The Superior Court Judge is a friend. The politics for the town don’t match up with my liberal background but I’m involved still.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@anartist Some years ago, my husband was President of the Ward 6 Democrats. I don’t know your politics, or whether you affiliate with any party, but I do know that you live in Ward 6!

@Blackberry I, too, live in Virginia. Too bad you’re not connected or involved; this absurd place needs all the help it can get. Ok, that’s enough pontificating for one night. I really need to go buy some concealed weapons.

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