It’s that time of the year again: voting. Voting is one of the most astounding privileges of democracy. However, when it comes to voting in America, many people only think about the national elections. While these elections are very important, it is important to keep in mind that elections aren’t just taking place at the national level, but also as the local one as well.
Here in Pacifica and Daly City, elections are happening. On November 6th, citizens will not only have the opportunity to vote for House Representatives or Senators, but people will also be voting for new City Council members, and new local measures that will affect various aspects of life in Pacifica and Daly City.
Michael Sagum, an 18-year old OHS senior and an excited first-time voter, looks forward to voting on Measure Y, a Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD) educational measure that would dramatically increase JUHSD funding by nearly 2 million dollars: “In the upcoming election, I am excited to vote on Measure Y, because I know a lot of students and teachers that are deeply affected by the lack of funding. I’ve seen the statistics of how much my district makes compared to other school districts and it’s really upsetting to see those discrepancies.” Michael also stresses that he’s also really excited to vote on other local measures, such as Measure W, a San Mateo County-wide measure regarding public transportation, something which directly affects a vast majority of young people.
Another aspect that makes local elections so vastly different from presidential or other national elections is that one can see the impact of one’s vote. Each vote affects public policy nearly immediately and to a larger degree. These elections can also have social impact. For instance, in the fall of 2017, Pacifica experienced extreme political polarization when Measure C, a local measure advocating for rent control, was on the ballot. Ultimately, this measure did not pass, but the months leading up to the election wreaked havoc on community relations and furthered political ideological divisions in Pacifica, something which Pacifica had never experienced with any presidential candidate before.
Ultimately, local elections have a unique, yet significant weight to them that national elections do not have: “The decisions made on Capitol Hill are important, but those decisions take months, sometimes even years to implement, and sometimes we don’t even notice the changes,” describes David Roberts, a 11th grade Humanities teacher at Oceana. “With local elections, it’s much more impactful.” As you cast your ballot this November, and vote for your representatives in Washington D.C, don’t forget to vote in your city and county elections, as well. It’s where you’ll experience democracy almost immediately.