Everyone knows the importance of voting in the big elections — the president every four years, our congressmen every six years, and your representatives every two years. But a far less percentage of people regard voting in local elections as necessary, which doesn’t quite make sense, as it is at the local level that some of the most important decisions are made. Here are, arguably, the top five most important offices you should be voting for when it comes to elections in your area.
Number 1: Mayor
Now, this first one may seem like it’s a bit obvious, but your local mayor’s office can often be the first port of call if you have a problem somewhere in your area. At some point, a majority of local issues will cross the mayor’s desk, looking for approval for the idea, a question for budget reasons, or simply whether to ask the mayor what they think. In many areas, the mayor controls the local council meetings, often deciding which issues are brought up during these, and controlling the agenda. It is vital in these sorts of cases that the person that holds this position is someone you trust to get the job done, and someone you believe you can rely upon. Many local elections for mayors are often between two or three people, and one of these is usually the incumbent mayor. It doesn’t take too long to have a look to see what he or she has done in the area, and question if this is the sort of agenda you want for your area.
Number 2: School Board
Education is widely covered in the news these days, and a lot of it seems to be around the funding of schools and university students. But the important thing is to know who is in charge of the schools in your area in the first place. Your local school board will probably be around 12 people who decide how education in your area works, and how large an area a school board covers differs from state to state. It is important to vote for the people going on your school board, especially since they control school funding and the curriculum in your area. which means that these people essentially control what your child learns when they go to school. This duty gives them influence over an important part of life, and these boards have to be appropriately elected to ensure that they are learning what you think are the most important things are, and holding these board to account via the elections that are held is the best way for you to have your say on both how you feel your child is learning, as well as how well you think your school is being run overall.
Number 3: Sheriff
The reason why the sheriff is so low down the list is just that there is a lot of variation from state to state as to the powers of the sheriff. But in the places where they are the most powerful, the sheriff election is one which you cannot afford to miss. In charge of law enforcement in some places, sheriffs are elected by county and are quite likely to be the person you are placing your safety in the hands of should you ever be the victim of a crime. Sheriff elections are essential in this regard, as they handle the management of all crimes in a particular area. Key exceptions are if you hail from Alaska or Connecticut, where counties and county governments do not apply, or if you are from Hawaii, where the sheriff is appointed.
Number 4: Auditor
If you want your local government held accountable, there is no better person outside of you the voter than your local government auditor. Again, powers of an auditor vary from state to state, and one of the most powerful audit offices is in the state of Ohio. Essentially, the auditor checks the spending records of your local government, checking the financial assets to make sure that everything is in order, and there is no misuse of funds or embezzlement happening within government departments. The auditor has to know his way around financial systems, and there is no better way of choosing a competent and independent auditor than by voting one in. Some auditors also have responsibilities in property valuations and can also help you with local tax laws.
Number 5: Recorder
We come to number five, and the recorder will probably be one of the most helpful people you will need in public office. With the official title of Recorder of Deeds, this person looks after all the local records and documents of a county, including important things to you such as housing deeds. Essentially, this person is the one to go to if you need to establish your rights over property, and to protect these rights with the proof that you do indeed own what you say you do. By electing someone here, you can make sure that this person is helpful, open, and makes sure that all documents make their way to the allocated person whenever they are needed.
That wraps up this short list of five local offices that you should go out and vote for. Though some are overlooked, every elected official in your local area is someone who makes your community work and keeps it functioning in a way that allows everything to carry on as usual. Without these local officials, life would be much harder.
It would be harder to fix things, to prove things, and most importantly, nothing would get done without the multitude of locally elected officials who work tirelessly to serve and help your community. It is important in these times to make sure that the person you vote in is up to the task, and that you vote in the best person for the job.