Local elections demonstrate that every vote matters

By Michelle Maxfield

Pittsboro, NC – After reading Mr. Brownfield’s words of gratitude to the citizens in Chatham County who voted in the 2022 midterms, I felt compelled to respond. This year was the first time I voted outside the
general presidential election. Proud of my newfound conviction to our most basic civic responsibility, I wondered how many of my fellow Chatham County residents joined me as recipients of Mr. Brownfield’s regard.

image by Freepik

Not surprisingly, it was far fewer than would have earned the same acknowledgement in 2020. According to the NC State Board of Elections, approximately 66% of Chatham County voters cast their ballots in the November 2022 election. Although this is significantly less than the 84% who voted in November 2020, it is far more impressive than the 27% who voted in May 2022 and the 12% who voted in July 2022.

Chatham County Schools, the largest employer in Chatham County, currently serves over 8,900 students. Only a little over half of Chatham County’s residents voted in this year’s school board election, in which one race was determined by 470 votes. Slightly more than 800 individuals determined Siler City’s Town Commissioner At-Large and Mayor in races decided by 45 and 141 votes respectively. Less than 500 people voted for Cary’s Town Council At-Large in a race with under 100 votes determining the outcome. To any who have said or felt that their vote did not matter, I hope this demonstrates that every vote matters.

To my fellow recipients of Mr. Brownfield’s gratitude, help me spread the word. Voting takes place more often than every 4 years, and you do not have to stand in long lines on election day to make your voice heard. North Carolina voters have evolved from 2006 to 2020, reducing in person on election day voting from nearly 80% to 16%, and increasing by mail, from 2% to 18%, and one-stop early voting, from 19% to 65%. Electing the president of our nation is an important civic responsibility. However, those with the most immediate impact on our daily lives hold offices at the state and local levels. I encourage you to keep an eye out for a list of 2023 candidates, coming soon, determine the candidates who best align with your values, and vote.