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With the Primary Election now all counted and complete, most of our eyes will be affixed on the names that will appear at the top of the ballot in November. We don’t doubt Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will have a spirited slugfest as they try to woo Kentucky’s voters and electoral votes.
But our greater focus this fall will be on the undercard of their heavyweight bout, the faces in the races to see who will emerge from our counties and neighborhoods to lead decision-making in our community for the next two to four years.
We saw the power of that process in the races in the 4th Congressional District and for Shelbyville City Council. Sixteen names were on those two ballots, and we liked that spirited – if sometimes absentee – interest in those jobs.
The top two for Congress and six of the seven for the council move forward to the fall, and those running for the council will have five more candidates ready to debate them and to challenge them.
We look at those two elections and see no certainty in the outcomes or the factors that will affect those outcomes. We could see some very close counts to determine winners.
Similarly we watch keenly the other bouts that will join this card and hope those fields will be both engaged and engaging.
The Shelby County School Board will elect representatives in Districts 2, 3 and 5. The Simpsonville City Commission and the Pleasureville City Commission will have their biennial ballots. All three elections are non-partisan, and we won’t know the candidates until the filing deadline, Aug. 14.
When that list is published, we hope to see it dotted with numerous names and a promise for a campaign more spirited than lawn signs waving in the breeze or the simple rings of our doorbells.
Yet, we don’t expect that we will. We’re not sure many residents truly care about the manner in which we are represented and governed – only with the decisions to which they are subjected.
Our first cue is the lack of attendance at meetings by interested observers. Sure, the school board draws parents and school employees, but they typically attend for specific reasons.
We seldom see concerned and uninvited citizens at meetings of the city commissions or the city council. Shelby County Fiscal Court gets only slightly more scrutiny.
Do you care?
Do you want to know what goes on in the community where you live or with the group that manages your children’s educations? Do you wait until something arrives in your mailbox or inbox to respond?
When you look at the bubbles and begin to fill them in on Election Day, will you even recognize the names on the list? Will you know anything about why you are voting the way you are voting? Or will you even vote at all?
Those are our questions about what happens in November, because our greatest concern is not who is elected but why and by whom that is happening.
We want you to pay attention, to be informed and, if at all possible, to participate in how this community is governed.
At least, if you did all of that, it would render more valid your complaints about decisions.