Most people are have heard it said, "If you don`t vote, you can`t complain about the way your government is run." It seems such an obvious, yet crucial notion. So much so, that it should be enough to get the message across to voters of the significance of their voices in town government. Yet town officials guess that this year`s voter turn-out could be near an all-time low.

Presidential election years traditionally draw a larger number of voters, and perhaps understandably so. But to borrow an oft-used quote, "All politics is local." (Which was said by Thomas Phillip O`Neill Sr., incidentally.) This year the residents of Fairfield have the opportunity to really put that phrase into action. Picking people for Board of Education, the Town Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting (RTM), voters can decide who they want running their town. They can decide who they want behind the scenes making decisions that determine the path this town takes. These candidates are the people who volunteer their time to protect Fairfielders` way of life. What could be more significant than that?

The League of Women Voters in Fairfield is doing all it can to encourage the town`s residents to come out to the polls. It has sponsored a Board of Education candidates debate, and published a voter`s guide in each of the town`s papers. The guide included candidates` answers to questions about the town and biographical information, and is an unbiased, informative tool for voters to use.

(Anyone looking for a copy of the voter`s guide can pick one up at the Fairfield Citizen office, 220 Carter Henry Dr., Fairfield.)

There are many places throughout the world where residents have no say in their municipal government. There are other places where the peoples` voices are muffled by rampant corruption. Here in the United States we are lucky enough to have direct input into the way our lives are run. Yet so many people take that for granted. Perhaps it`s laziness, and perhaps people let their personal lives get in the way of taking part in town government. We challenge Fairfielders to overcome complacency and to get out to the polls Nov. 3.

Voting is the only real way residents can make a difference in the way their town is run. Conversely, it is also the only way to keep the things they like.

Not voting should not signify that residents are content with the way things are. Not voting should really imply that the voter doesn`t care. And the consequences of that sentiment are grim.

This Nov. 3, don`t spend 15 minutes coming up with an excuse for not voting. Instead, take five minutes to protect your way of life.