Have you gotten involved in local politics since the last presidential election?

(Photo: Jonathan Simcoe/Unsplash) (Photo: Jonathan Simcoe/Unsplash) 

As the first anniversary of the 2016 presidential election nears, America asked readers about their engagement with politics on the local level. Ninety-eight percent of our reader sample told us that they intended to vote in upcoming local elections—though voter turnout in municipal elections in major cities rarely comes close to 50 percent. “Democracy begins at the local level,” said Gretchen Knapp of Normal, Ill.

When asked which local offices are the most important to focus on, a narrow plurality of 30 percent chose city and town council members. “Council members have the most possibilities to check the other branches [of local government],” said a reader from Philadelphia.

Advertisement

Twenty-eight percent of respondents thought that mayoral elections were the most important. “All local elections are significant. However, our mayors control the city council and the municipal budget and all city resources,” wrote Tunya Cosby of Richmond, Va. “The mayor also represents the city in global affairs and makes decisions on our behalf regarding certain global initiatives,” she said. “For example, my town's mayor signed on to the Paris Climate Accord, though [President Trump] abandoned this international commitment to stave off climate change.”

Remaining readers told America that the election of judges (17 percent) and the school board (18 percent) were the most crucial local elections, while a lower number of respondents thought the elections of prosecutors (1 percent) and sheriffs (5 percent) were most important.

Among the 2 percent of respondents who admitted they did not intend to vote in their local elections, a variety of reasons were offered, but John Monsalve of Long Valley, N.J. , seemed to sum them up. “I don’t feel like it will make a difference,” he said.

Results of "Your Take" survey.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Native American protestors hold hands with parishioner Nathanial Hall, right, during a group prayer outside the Catholic Diocese of Covington on Jan. 22, 2019, in Covington, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The furor over a chance meeting between Catholic high school students and Native American protesters underscores the need to listen and learn from indigenous voices.
Marlene LangJanuary 23, 2019
The staggering parliamentary defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May, seen here leaving 10 Downing Street on Jan. 23, pushed the country even further from safe dry land. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
After the stunning defeat of Theresa May's exit deal, Scotland is looking anew at independence, and the U.K. government fears economic disaster.
David StewartJanuary 23, 2019
Michael Osborne, a film director, documents the damage from a mud slide next to his home in Los Angeles on Jan. 18, after three days of heavy rain. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
The conceit of California-as-disaster-movie is ridiculous. But maybe watching our fires and mudslides helps other states consider both their own fragility and their underlying strength.
Jim McDermottJanuary 23, 2019
A commitment to religious liberty demands that effort be devoted to resolving, rather than exacerbating, any real or apparent tension between religious obligation and civil duty.
The EditorsJanuary 23, 2019