In a perfect world, we would have 100 percent participation in all of our elections. But as we know, we don’t live in a perfect world. Many people who are eligible to vote choose not to do so, for a variety of reasons.
Maybe some people don’t vote because they are too busy with work or personal commitments. Or maybe they just don’t really care about the candidates or issues on the ballot.
Low voter participation is particularly a problem in local elections. While people might feel motivated to cast ballots in presidential or gubernatorial races, there are comparatively fewer who will take the time to help decide the outcome of local races and ballot initiatives.
That’s unfortunate because local governments make the decisions that hit closest to home. If you’re having trouble getting the pothole on your street fixed or you’re worried about how the property down the block will be zoned, whoever is occupying the White House isn’t going to be able to help you. Your local government leaders could, though.
Which brings us to ballot issue 2A, which Pueblo voters will decide in a May 5 referendum. The Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office was scheduled to mail the ballots out this week, so they should be arriving in the mail soon, if they haven’t already.
There’s really no good excuse not to fill those ballots out and return them.
Being stuck at home as a result of the coronavirus means many of us have more free time on our hands. Even if we’re fortunate enough to still have jobs, there probably are some gaps of time to fill during our off hours.
Filling out a ballot in this election shouldn’t take much time, anyway. You may need less time to mark your ballot than you’ve spent reading this editorial.
No reasonable Puebloan could argue that ballot issue 2A isn’t important to our daily lives. The ballot question will decide whether we will allow Black Hills Energy to continue to provide our electric service or let city government take over.
Few things are as basic or important to our daily lives as whether or not the lights will come on when we hit the power switch. If voters approve a city takeover, the move would require an unprecedented expenditure of public funds.
Even by conservative estimates, it would cost close to $1 billion (with a “b”) for the city to buy the equipment and infrastructure needed to make this type of transition. That investment ― funded by you, the ratepayers ― shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Since many of us have some extra time on our hands, we can more thoroughly research this issue before casting ballots. Take a few minutes to read what the city’s consultant had to say about the idea. Then, if you want to have a balanced and well-rounded view of the subject, read the report prepared by Black Hills’ consultant. Both can be found online.
Don’t be conned into believing there’s only one source you can rely on when making your decision. There’s a ton of information available on the internet about cities that wanted to provide their own electric service, a few that succeeded and many that failed. Do your own research and see where it guides you.
We hope that people will use logic and reason when casting their ballots as opposed to just offering knee-jerk emotional responses.
Whatever the result, this election is sure to be a historic moment in Pueblo’s history. We all owe it to ourselves and those who come after us to choose ― and choose wisely.