Keep showing up to vote


We just voted on school and library budgets — and the trustees to manage them — but our work isn’t over. Not yet.

All of us need to get out and vote again in just a few weeks, in the primary election on June 25. And some of will also have an earlier vote as well, on June 18, for political offices in our own communities.

Yes, that’s a lot of voting. But it’s the very essence of democracy, and what helps make our country so amazing.

Voting is often described as a cornerstone of democracy, a fundamental right that empowers all of us to shape our government and its policies. While presidential elections draw significant attention, local and primary elections frequently suffer from lower voter turnout.

Many people question the importance of these smaller-scale elections — especially if the outcome seems predetermined. But voting in local and primary elections is crucial for a number of reasons, and every vote truly does matter.

Local elections directly affect our daily lives in ways that national elections do not. They determine who will make decisions about schools, public safety infrastructure and local taxes.
By participating in these local elections, we have a direct hand in shaping our neighborhoods, and ensuring that their specific needs and concerns are addressed.

Primaries — like the ones involving Assembly and State Senate seats on June 25 — are another critical juncture of the democratic process. They determine which candidates will appear on the ballot in the general election, effectively shaping the choices available to voters.

The primary is often the most competitive phase of an election, particularly in areas where one political party dominates. Yet by voting in primaries, we can influence the selection of candidates who best represent our views and values.

This is especially important when considering the diversity of opinions within a political party, whether you’re Republican or Democrat. A broad spectrum of candidates can lead to more nuanced and representative governance.

A common misperception is that an individual vote doesn’t matter, particularly if the outcome seems predictable. History, however, is replete with examples of elections that were decided by a handful of votes. Local and primary elections often have much lower turnout than national elections, meaning that each vote carries more weight.

Close races can — and do — happen, and a few votes can tip the balance. At the same time, higher voter participation can lend greater legitimacy to the elected officials and the democratic process itself, fostering a more engaged and responsive government.

And, if nothing else, these local elections set the stage for future national leaders. Look at U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito. The former New York Police Department detective and volunteer firefighter was first elected to the Hempstead town council in 2016. Now D’Esposito is helping to make decisions not just for parts of Nassau County, but the entire country.

Congressman Tom Suozzi is another product of local elections. He was elected mayor of Glen Cove in 1993, and moved on to become the Nassau County executive in 2001. He went to Congress in 2016, left in 2022 for a gubernatorial run, and then returned this year to replace his disgraced successor, George Santos.

Voting in local and primary elections is essential. Even if the outcome seems certain, showing up to vote is a powerful statement of engagement and commitment to the democratic process.