Editorial: Every vote matters in local elections

Published 12:10 am Thursday, November 4, 2021

The 2021 municipal elections are proof that every vote counts.

In East Spencer, just one vote separates Tony Hillian from Albert Smith. At the moment, Hillian, with 109 votes, is set to win reelection, but that’s pending a recount that Smith says he’ll request. With just a few more votes, he wouldn’t have needed a recount.

In the Salisbury mayor’s race, the number of votes separating Al Heggins from Karen Alexander is the equivalent of a long neighborhood street’s worth of houses — 18 votes.

In Cleveland, incumbent Bryan Little was just five votes short of winning his bid for the town Board of Commissioners. Even though Cleveland is a small town, there are plenty of people who didn’t vote that could have made the difference for Little.

Things aren’t as close in the Salisbury City Council race, but it’s still hard to believe just 64 votes separated Anthony Smith and Nalini Joseph for the last spot after thousands of people cast their ballots. If a few groups of people didn’t turn out for Smith or a few more showed up for Joseph, we might be talking about a recount in that race, too.

There may be other lessons from the 2021 municipal elections, but the most important one is that votes are most impactful in local elections. Presidents, governors and U.S. senators get all the attention, but city council members, aldermen and town board members make decisions that can change the way communities look and feel in short order. That one vote can make a difference should be reason enough for everyone eligible to vote in local elections.