The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Local elections are important, too

When I headed out to the Pentecostal Assembly Church last November to vote, the place was packed. I saw about five people I knew from class, a few more I knew from living in the dorms and countless swarms of the rest of Eau Claire citizens.

I completed the necessary address change registration, waited in line, making the stops at each table station and then spent about two minutes actually submitting my ballot. Approximate time for that whole process? About an hour and a half.

When I venture out to do the same process next week for the local elections, I doubt it will take me fifteen minutes. I can almost guarantee I will not see anyone I recognize, and if I do, they will probably be fellow political science students.

My question is a simple one. Why? Why the big rush to go out and vote for people you will most likely have minimal, if any contact with?

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I agree the offices of the United States president, senators and representatives are important ones. However, I seem to be a minority in thinking the local elections, like city council and school board are just as important.

I know what you are thinking. “I am a college student. I will live here for four, maybe five years tops and then I’m out of here.” Let me ask you a question. Do you like to go out to eat? It is the local government that enforces public health surveys and inspections of those restaurants.

Do you like taking the bus to campus instead of walking 20 blocks? That is also funded through local government, according to the city’s 2013 budget.

In most places, those services, plus services like waste and sewage disposal, water supply and the fire and police departments are        controlled by the local government.

All of these appear on the city’s 2013 budget. Who controls that budget? The local officeholders. When you look at it that way, it is those people who will affect your day-to-day life, whether you own property or a house, or are just living in Eau Claire temporarily.

So suppose you avoid all the restaurants in Eau Claire, start walking everywhere and hoard your garbage. You can’t be affected then right? Wrong.

What if the costs for those things change? It could increase local taxes and even though you don’t own any property in the city, your landlords or future landlords do. That tax increase will be transferred to you in the form of a
higher rent.

You can find quick information on the views of those running for city council and the school board on the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce website. Just follow the Programs and Services drop tab to the Governmental Affairs page. The Election and Voting section has information on all candidates. You can find your polling place at

My point is, just get out and vote. Even if these reasons haven’t convinced you, just do it simply because you live in a democracy which allows you to do so.

Another plus for these local elections? You are sure to have a shorter, less hectic wait than the one you faced in November.

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Local elections are important, too