Next year, students will be excited to vote for in the Presidential election. Many will go to the polls for the first time. But your vote matters much less next year than it does this year. If you are excited about voting, this is the year you should be most motivated to vote, because city government affects you most directly. You have a stronger vote in city elections than any other.
According to the 2010 census, Bloomington has about 80,000 people. The top vote-getter for city council at-large in 2011 got only 3805 votes. Every single vote matters! This is said so often in elections that it has become a cliche’ but it is more true in city elections than in any other election. When only 4,000 votes can make someone the top vote-getter citywide, you should be excited to be one of those voters.
Furthermore, city government impacts your life more directly than any other level of government. We depend on the fire department to protect our lives and property, so it is critical that the fire department has the resources it needs. We see the police department out in our community every day. We drive on city streets, so the planning of infrastructure matters. We have an amazing network of sidewalks, especially the closer you get to downtown.
Students are here for four years, so there is a lack of interest in city government, but students should vote in city elections because city government matters to students. Most students live off-campus, and the city regulates your landlord. The Housing and Neighborhood Development department deals with landlord-tenant disputes and any regulations or taxes that make it more expensive for your landlord to operate are passed to you in your rent.
I ask that you write in “Scott Tibbs” for city council, at-large. You can learn more about my campaign at http://www.VoteForTibbs.org. But no matter how you vote, please turn out and vote. Who represents us on the city council and who serves as our next Mayor should not be decided by a pathetic 5% of the total population.