In countries around the world, people are fighting and sometimes dying for a right – the right to vote – that we take for granted. They know, all too well, exactly how valuable that right is.
Sadly, in New York, only a portion of those who are eligible are registered to vote, and a smaller number of citizens actually do so – a number that plunges dramatically when the election is a primary.
According to NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, just 18.4 percent of those eligible to vote cast ballots in the 2009 mayoral election, with only about 11 percent of registered voters voting in the primary, according to Gotham Gazette, which also pointed out that, in 2001, Michael Bloomberg became mayor with the backing of only about 15 percent of the electorate.
That has to change.
On Tuesday, September 9, voters registered with the Democratic, Republican and Independence Parties should plan to head to the polls to choose the candidates who will appear on the ballot for their parties.
This year, the positions that are in play are member of Congress, state senator and state assemblymember (all of which come up for election every two years), as well as some judgeships. In addition, Democrats will choose their district leaders, who are unpaid party officials, another biannual task.
While not every district has a primary (at least two candidates need to run for that to occur), it is important to vote in those that do, if you live in the district. Indeed, a key aspect of our cherished democracy is having a say in who you want to represent you.
In this issue of this newspaper, you will find a guide to local primaries. We urge you to read the candidate profiles, then augment your knowledge by researching the candidates on line, doing everything you can to learn what the candidates stand for so you can make an informed choice.
It only takes a few minutes to cast your ballot, but those few minutes are very precious indeed, as they are what enable democracy not only to survive but to thrive.
Congratulations to pediatric cancer advocates who got Times Square lit gold to bring attention to Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
While the Empire State Building still refuses to join the effort, numerous other landmarks and buildings have added their names to a growing list of structures and other sites that have signed on with the Gold World Project – proof positive not only of the importance of the cause but also that persistence pays off.