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How Much Does Local Government Matter To You?

Tell us how you feel local government affects you – or doesn't affect you.

How do you feel about local government: your town council, your county legislature, your village officials? The number of voters who turned out in recent elections suggests fewer people care about local levels of government than the national scope of politics. For instance:

  • When Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko re-ran for his post in 2011, 70,293 people voted out of a total of 281,592 registered voters in the town, for a turnout of about 25 percent. The race for town council, in which Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld was re-elected, saw a turnout of about 28.5 percent.
  • When Kara Hahn and Anthony Moncayo faced off for the Fifth Legislative District seat in the Suffolk County Legislature, 13,668 out of 49,035 turned out at the polls, or about 28 percent.
  • Compare that to a voter turnout of about 75 percent during the last presidential election in 2008: 695,403 ballots cast out of 877,102 registered voters in Suffolk County.

If fewer voters are turning out for the most local level of government, does that mean fewer people are concerned about it? What's your take on local government: how much does it matter to you? Log in to Patch and tell us in the comments.

Ann January 27, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Yes it does matter - they are the ones who regulate our taxes, and decide who gets a salary increase and qwhat gets closed. As for lower voter turn out for the most local government elections I think people are just fed up and realize even though they go to the polls it doesn't really make a difference because everyone knows who'll get in or buy their way in so why bother going.
Rich Murdocco January 27, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Local government directly impacts homeowners in a variety of ways. As the chief architect of zoning laws and land use, local municipalities control quality of life, environmental health and commercial tax base in communities across Long Island. Local governments are very powerful because they wield the police power, the ability to restrict uses of property for the sake of the public. Voter turnout is always low for local elections, and will continue to be low until the community is engaged in the process, and the laws, regulations and permits are standardized to apply to everyone.

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