Take time to get informed this election season
One of the greatest opportunities we have in this country is also one of the greatest responsibilities: exercising our civic duty on election day.
With the latest city election less than two weeks away, and Newark’s first referendum in nearly two decades scheduled for June 19, there are opportunities for everyone to have their voice be heard in the coming months.
But with voter turnout being historically low in Newark elections (the average percentage of voter turnout over the past five years is just 18 percent), it’s clear the responsibility has only been assumed by a small minority of our community. Let’s change that.
On Tuesday, April 10, residents in District 3 and District 5 will have an opportunity to cast their vote for who they believe will be a champion for their concerns and best represents their views for strengthening Newark.
I encourage our neighbors in those districts to do their research. Meet the candidates, hear their position on the issues we are facing and share your thoughts and ideas with them. Ask questions: what challenges do they hope to address? How will they communicate with their constituents? What strengths will they bring to council? Talk to your neighbors and encourage them to be engaged and informed as well. Most importantly – show up on election day. Every vote counts and your voice matters.
Ten weeks later, on Tuesday, June 19, Newark will hold a referendum to address the ability for the city to seek approval to borrow money for several capital projects, including the proposed stormwater pond project at the former Rodney dorm site. This is the first referendum since 2001, when the city sought borrowing authorization to fund construction of the Newark reservoir and upgrades to the South Well Field Water Treatment Plant utilizing debt.
The city is developing a comprehensive education and outreach plan to inform voters of the different projects, why the city hopes to use debt financing to pay for the projects, and how the projects will have a positive impact in our community. As that plan rolls out, I hope residents will seek information, ask questions and weigh the options they’re being asked to vote on. Most importantly, once again – show up to the polls and vote.
With a vast amount of information available at our fingertips – whether that means going online, turning on your TV or dialing the phone – there is little to no reason to not be engaged and educated on issues impacting your community. But accessing the information and acting upon it are two different things.
I hope you’ll take advantage of both the opportunity and the responsibility to have a say in local matters and come out to the polls this year. The future of Newark depends on those who let their voices be heard.