mayor of deland candidates
BEACON PHOTOS/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN ONE BIG DECISION — Voters in DeLand and Deltona will be choosing mayors on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Above, DeLand’s two mayoral candidates campaign at the corner of Woodland Boulevard and New York Avenue in Downtown DeLand. Among 25,633 registered voters in DeLand, only 1,562 cast ballots in the mayoral primary on Aug. 23.

We know the vast majority of Beacon readers wouldn’t dream of not voting — even in a strictly local election. But, in the Aug. 23 election, some 71 percent of those eligible to cast ballots didn’t.

Friends shouldn’t let friends not vote.

The mathematical odds suggest that you, Beacon reader, have friends and neighbors who were willing to allow others to make decisions for them in our most recent election.

The right to vote that patriotic Americans have fought and died to protect, these nonvoters dismissed as unimportant. The chance to play a role in shaping their local governments, having their voices heard, they avoided.

We’ve heard the reasons. “I didn’t know any of the candidates.” “My vote doesn’t matter, anyway.” “No matter who you elect, they do whatever they want.”

And, our favorite, “I’m just not into politics.”

Yes, there are times and places to avoid political discussions, especially those divisive ones where no common ground can be found.

But if nonvoters have opinions about growth and development, zoning, traffic-law enforcement, crime-fighting in the community, our property taxes, local schools or street-cleaning, getting “into politics” is imperative.

Being “into politics” is an unavoidable part of protecting our rights and freedoms, and cherishing our democracy.

Between now and Tuesday, Nov. 8, we encourage you to talk with friends and neighbors about what’s at stake in our local elections. Share your copy of the Voters’ Guide we’ll be producing, or ask us for extra copies to distribute.

Let’s work together to raise our local voter-turnout percentage, to a level that lets our local elected officials know, loud and clear, that we care — and that we’ll be watching.

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