I would like to recognize and thank everyone that got out to vote on April 6 in Platte County. I would also like to recognize the efforts of so many advocates and volunteers, regardless of what candidate or issue they supported or opposed. For certain, I had my position on the candidates and issues, but my gratitude is for everyone that participated. Our local control of our community and democratic process depends on those of us that inform ourselves and then take at least the minimal action of voting.
10,747 votes were cast out of 70,016 registered voters, about 15% turnout. Statewide and national elections draw much higher turnout but so much of our local governance, taxing and bonding is decided by such a small number of citizens. County wide, the highest turnout was the voters at Seven Bridges, just 27%, and five polling locations saw less than 10% of registered voters cast a ballot.
I know that local elections are the most difficult elections to gather information about but there are dedicated individuals in our community that worked tirelessly to get the word out on the issues and candidates. Our school board meetings, health department meetings and county commission meetings are all open to the public. If people go to these meetings, they will meet dedicated, community-minded individuals and will learn more about what is going on locally. They may also find fair-minded people that share their values, if not their political party affiliation.
I, for one, am done with divisive social media and arguments with strangers that I will never meet, will never even visit Platte County and that I have nothing in common with. I will, however, participate in my local community, speak words of encouragement to our local leaders when they get it right and respectfully but firmly voice my opposition when they get it wrong. I will also listen to those with whom I disagree. I have had my mind changed by a thoughtful argument before and I’m always better for a greater understanding of the issues, even when I’m not convinced.