OPINION | Barry Richard: Get Out and Vote!
A handful of Massachusetts cities, including New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton have municipal elections today. The polls are open until 8 pm and the weather is perfect so there is no excuse not to vote.
I'm not going to hit you with all of the usual pressure to go out and vote because you've heard it all before. If you don't vote and don't have a real good excuse you are either just lazy or just don't give a damn. Either way, it's on you. I don't care. Perhaps society is better if you do stay at home. Just don't hit me later on with complaints about the job the elected officials are doing or bore me with stories about how your vote doesn't really matter anyway because "they're all the same."
I, for one, am tired of begging people to participate in the process. If you vote, cool. If you don't, well, that's cool too..
New Bedford voters will elect a mayor today. Incumbent Jon Mitchell faces a challenge from veteran police officer Charlie Perry. All five at-large city councilors are on the ballot and there are open seat races in Wards 1, 2 and 5. All six wards will elect councilors today. Voters will also elect a school committee and will decide on whether to expand the mayor's term from two to four years.
Fall River will decide whether to keep incumbent Mayor Jasiel Correia II or replace him with longtime City Councilor Linda Pereira. There are three open seats on the Fall River City Council and three open spots on the Fall River School Committee. Voters will also tackle a proposed charter change that would, among other things, strengthen the authority of the city council. They will also consider a $123 million dollar storm water and waste water bond to upgrade the sewage treatment plant on Bay Street.
Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye is unopposed in today's election. There are, however, contested races for city council and school committee. All nine incumbent councilors are hoping to fend off six challengers. Seven of the eight members of the school committee face re-election. Veteran Peter Coor is not running this time. There are three challengers.
Voter turnout is likely to be low in all three municipalities. I would be shocked if any of the three surpass 35%. But again, if you can't be bothered to participate do not complain about the results because no one will care what you have to say.
Go vote or stay home and shut up. Period.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.