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Bob Kellar: Exercise your right to vote on April 13

Live from City Hall

Posted: April 2, 2010 9:46 p.m.
Updated: April 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
Did you know the government that actually impacts your life on a day-to-day basis more than any other is your local government?  

It’s true.  Think about the streets and sidewalks you use every day near your home and your children’s schools, your local parks and trails, even the stop sign at the corner and the traffic lights around town.  These and many other aspects of infrastructure like them are the responsibility of local government, and if you live in the city of Santa Clarita, it’s probably something the city has a hand in.

Typically, local election turnout in our community is low, and usually under 20 percent of registered voters.  Different countries have very different average voter turnouts. For example, in the United States, scarcely half the eligible population votes. Meanwhile, in Australia — where voting is compulsory — and in Malta, participation reaches 95 percent. In the 2008 city of Santa Clarita municipal election, only 17 percent of registered voters actually turned in a ballot.

An astonishing 82,253 of the residents in the city were registered voters, yet fewer than 15,000 voters actually exercised their right to vote.  

The 2010 city of Santa Clarita’s municipal election will be held on April 13. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. This year, three seats on the five-member Santa Clarita City Council are up for election. To encourage potential voters to exercise their right to vote, the city of Santa Clarita has set up an easy-to-understand Web site, www.votesantaclarita.com.  

The Web site features information about how to register to vote, polling locations, precinct maps, candidate statements and a sample ballot. Best of all, you can log on to this Web site April 13 after the polls close at 8 p.m. and watch live election results streaming over the Web.

Over the last few years, the biggest increase the city has seen in voter turnout has come from the “absentee ballot,” or mail in ballot. This is something the city has encouraged because of its popularity, ease of use, and savings on time and gas to drive to a polling place.

Voter assistance will be available at all polling locations. This year, there are 30 voting precincts for the municipal election. If you are unable to make it to your regular voting precinct on election day, you can go to any polling location and cast a provisional ballot. Absentee ballots can also be mailed into the City Clerk’s Office and must be received by the close of polls on April 13 (postmarks will not be counted) to be counted.

Many residents have an opinion as to what is going on in the city and often offer comments about traffic, growth, open space, the economy and much more. Voting in the Municipal Election is the best way to ensure that your informed opinions are being represented by your locally-elected government.  

You have the opportunity to cast a vote and exercise a privilege that thousands have fought and died for. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste by allowing someone else make the decisions for you. Being active in your community will only take a few minutes of your time, and you won’t even have to break a sweat.

So take a moment on April 13 to exercise your right to vote. On election night, the city will broadcast live election results as ballots are counted. Tune in to Public Access Channel 20 or log on to www.votesantaclarita.com to watch as the results are tabulated.  

For more information regarding the upcoming City of Santa Clarita municipal election, visit www.votesantaclarita.com, or call the City Clerk’s Office at (661) 255-4391.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilman. He can be reached at bkellar@santa-slarita.com. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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