Editorial / Thinking you won't vote? Read this and think again
This ballot has no Obama to keep or kick out, no Bush to retain or reject, no Clinton to elect or eject.
There is no presidential magnet to draw voters to the polls in Fairfield Tuesday.
This town election is about the potholes on Post Road, not Pennsylvania Avenue. It's about the taxes on your house, not the White House. It's about the school your child attends, not national testing policies.
Figure your neighbors will get the job done without your vote?
In Sugar Land, Tex., earlier this year Amy Mitchell won a seat on the city council by one vote.
The history books attest to the power of a single vote.
The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by one vote in 1918. In Tennessee, the last state to ratify the amendment, it passed the state legislature by -- you guessed it -- a single vote.
No, the Fairfield ballot has no candidates for president, but voters will pick a new chief executive for the town. Democrat Mike Tetreau, Republican Rob Bellitto and Independent Hugh Dolan are vying for first selectman. The winner will lead the town for the next four years and have direct impact on your pocketbook, your child's education and the place you call home.
Property taxes have been a galvanizing issue for those who say they barely can afford to remain in Fairfield, and executive leadership is a big issue in the wake of huge cost overrruns for the Metro train station.
Those who would be the town's fiscal watchdogs are up for election to the board of finance.
Also on the ballot are candidates who would direct school policy in coming years. Those seats influence not only school quality but town spending and property taxes, as the school budget accounts for more than half the town budget.
The most local of the local races are for the 50 seats on the Representative Town Meeting, five seats from each of 10 districts.
The last time the first selectman's race was on the ballot -- 2007 -- 43 percent of voters went to the polls and chose incumbent Democrat Ken Flatto over GOP challenger John J. Nelson.
By comparison, 63 percent voted in Fairfield in the 2010 state election, which featured highly contested races for governor and U.S. Senate, plus Congressional and other state contests.
How important were a handful of votes in that one?
Ask former three-term state Rep. Thomas Drew, a Fairfield Democrat. Or local Republican Brenda Kupchick, who took Drew's 132nd District seat in a photo finish.
A recount gave Kupchick the seat by 21 votes -- two-tenths of one percent of the 8,750 ballots cast.
RTM races can influence whether a sorely needed traffic sign goes up on your street or a decaying tree near your property is removed. Those races often are so close that recounts are common.
Still thinking you may not vote? Think again about the power of a single ballot.