Election day is coming up this Nov. 4, and if you live within the City of Philadelphia, it’s easy to get a little jaded. Speaking strictly from a mathematical standpoint, our district will be a landslide Democratic victory.
Why even show up to the polls, then? Can a single vote, whether Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, or other, make a difference?
It’s dishonest to straight-up say “yes.” Outside of the Northeast, Philadelphia is solidly blue and unlikely to change. You’re probably not going to vote out an incumbent if you’re voting in Philly this Tuesday, save for Tom Corbett.
If you’re a conservative, you’re probably not going to vote out a Democrat. If you swing left, your candidate is probably going to win anyway, so why bother getting off the couch? Is it worth your time to vote?
As a matter of fact, yes! This year’s ballot contains not only office elections, but three ballot questions, which will be much more highly contested. Two charter changes and a bond issue are proposed. A sample ballot is available from the Committee of Seventy website.
Question one amends the charter to make the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability permanent. Question two amends the charter to put Philadelphia prisons under their own separate department. Question three authorizes the city to borrow $137 million for infrastructure improvements.
The fact is that if you want your vote to count, you’ll effect more change voting on local issues than national ones. If you support fiscal conservatism, vote “no” on question three. If you support the environment and sustainable policies, vote “yes” on question one. If you are more passionate about prison reform than the Triangle’s editorial board, make a decision on question two that reflects your stance.
Despite the overwhelming existing political majority, your vote still counts. Go out and use it. Local polling places are available and easy to look up at votespa.com.