Except for 2016 when we helped retire Hillary Clinton to the ash heap by electing Donald J. Trump president, I can't recall the last time I was excited about voting. Can you?

Election day in New Bedford is Tuesday, and while I will do my duty, I am not excited about it. Once again we are presented with essentially the same list of candidates with few opportunities for change. Its no wonder folks don't vote.

It is difficult for newcomers to break in when the field is dominated by incumbents and voter turnout is so low. It becomes difficult for anyone thinking about running to compete for money and endorsements.

Voters once again face a non-competitive race for mayor even as the term extends to four years for the first time. This is disappointing. You cannot have a healthy debate about ideas and the future of New Bedford if that debate is one-sided.

The at-large city council race is, for the most part, embarrassingly uninteresting. This is an area where change is badly needed but the strength of the incumbents will make it difficult to bring about change unless voters turn out in strong numbers. That is not likely to occur due to the lack of a competitive mayor's race.

Courtesy City of New Bedford

Each ward should be contested, yet most are not.

Too many local politicians stick around too long. It becomes part of who they are. I praise the wisdom of Ward Four's Dana Rebeiro, who knew when enough was enough and that the time had come to step aside and give someone else a turn.

I will vote on Tuesday, or at least I will cast a ballot. I can't say for certain if that ballot will contain any checkmarks or if it will be blank, but I will cast a ballot.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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