In just under a week, registered voters in Sampson will have an opportunity to make all-important decisions in municipal races across the county, with the opening of early voting.
With the election slated for Nov. 3, this gives eligible residents here ample opportunity to research candidates running for elected office in their area and cast an informed vote, either during the designated early voting period or on Election Day itself.
Either way, we hope residents will take the time to cast those ballots. It’s important to do so every time elections roll around, but this year, in several municipalities there are hotly contested races, with the outcomes determining who will make decisions in Sampson’s towns. That makes voting even more important.
There are pivotal races for four mayoral spots, as well as numerous town council (or commissioner) races, including a six-way race to fill half as many seats on Salemburg’s town board.
And all can either be decided by a few people willing to take the time to vote early or on Nov. 3, or those races can be decided by a concerned constituency determined to come out and do their civic duty. Either way, the election will be held, and offices will be filled, but ideally we hope they are filled because a large percentage of residents have taken much-needed interest in who will be making decisions across the county.
That’s why we have always supported early voting and encouraged residents to take part in the 9-day window of opportunity extended to give individuals both a choice of when to vote and plenty of time to cast a ballot, days before the actual Nov. 3 election.
This year, the early voting period will begin on Thursday, Oct. 22 and extend through Saturday, Oct. 31. Residents can casts ballots at the Board of Elections office 120 County Complex Road, just off Rowan Road, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Halloween Saturday (Oct. 31) from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. There is no early voting on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Over the years, voter apathy has grown across our country, a trend mirrored here in Sampson where, statistics show, fewer and fewer people are making vital decisions about how our cities, our towns and our county are governed.
It is a shame to let a handful of citizens make decisions that will impact all of us over the course of time, but each time a person chooses not to exercise their right to vote, they are handing decisions about their taxes, growth, new industry and new laws over to a select few to decide.
Choosing to cast a ballot gives us the power to help make all-important decisions that will not only impact us but future generations for years to come.
It seems residents forget that as they shrug their shoulders and opt out of the opportunity to do one’s civic duty, thinking it just a bother to vote or, worse still, that somehow their vote doesn’t matter.
In truth, every vote matters, and every vote makes a mark on the cities and towns where leaders are being chosen.
With seven mayoral seats and 19 town board positions across Sampson set to expire, it is easy to see that this year’s election will make a significant impact.
Wouldn’t you rather have an active voice in that process rather than a passive one brought on by the choice not to vote? We hope you say yes to be an active part of the electoral process, choosing to vote early or on Nov. 3.
The difference you can make is palpable. Please make it.