Post Traumatic Election Disorder4/15/23
Do you, like me, suffer from PTED - Post Traumatic Election Disorder? The bitter and divisive clashes of the last elections drained us all emotionally. Don’t we need a break before the 2024 rounds begin? Well, put your PTED in check for a while longer.
The presidential campaigns have begun, but let's not ignore local municipal elections. The electorate pays far less attention to these than to biannual county, state and federal elections, but municipal elections really define our towns and our day-to-day living environment. We ignore them at our peril.
Elected mayors and members of town councils and commissions largely determine the quality of life of our towns. The density of our communities, condition of local roads on which travel every day, our safety and well-being, where we can work and play, (perhaps even how we might entertain ourselves), the services required to improve these conditions and and what local taxes we pay for these efforts.
We love living here; but how long will this last if we are negligent in our duties to elect local officials who best reflect our priorities? In Easton only around 700 of a population of over 17,000 voted for mayor during the last municipal election.
If this trend continues, with a close race among three mayoral candidates just 234 votes could determine Easton’s next mayor. A determined group could conceivably hijack the election, with no one to blame but ourselves.
Judging by recent proposals, we could face serious development issues in coming years; and those will include determining the appropriate density and location of housing and businesses and how best to provide local employment opportunities for young professionals and skilled employees of diverse demographics.
What amenities are needed to make them want to live here? What efforts are required to maintain our environment? How do we attract the health professionals we need to support our seniors and families? If we want to elect the candidates best able to lead us and address these issues in the future, we must give some serious attention to our local elections.
Easton’s mayoral election is May 2. Most local elections in Talbot County occur in May, but Oxford elects its commissioners in June. Denton holds its elections in November in Caroline County; and in Dorchester County the mayor of Cambridge was elected in a runoff election in September when none of six candidates received more than 50% of the vote in August.
Turnout is generally lower in municipal elections, but it is hard to imagine a time when civic engagement could be more important. Study and listen to the candidates. Attend whatever “meet and greets” you can. We are all busy attending to spring cleaning and gardening, but daffodils will not address the issues that will shape our day to day lives in the future.
Marc Ebersberger is a resident of Easton and board member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum.