The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. Michael Taffe is the assistant City & State editor.
When people think of their government, they think about deliberation in Congress or the latest national news coverage. But the vast majority of our interactions with government happen at the local level.
Traffic lights, speed limits, utilities, police, schools, affordable housing, taxes: these are all decided by our local government bodies.
And yet, despite being at the center of the issues that impact us daily, turnout in our local elections is consistently the lowest of any race.
Voter turnout in Orange County was 71 percent in 2016 during elections for president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, N.C. General Assembly, mayor and local boards. In 2018, when the highest office on the ballot was U.S. House, turnout dropped to 59 percent. And last week, when the only offices on the ballot were local, turnout plummeted to 18 percent.