State and Local Elections Are Important Too

State and Local Elections Are Important Too

Jack Baird, Staff Editor

With Election Day rapidly approaching, it’s important to remember the significance of state/local politics. Though significantly underrepresented, municipalities play a major role in the national government. 


For example, mayors play a quintessential role in terms of community safety. Mayors are also the leaders against climate change; they work towards carbon neutrality within their cities. According to CNN, “ cities account for more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions so the solution to climate change must be led by cities.” Mayors across the country have the potential to decrease almost 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2030. Statistically speaking, equivalent to 26% of what is possible through direct climate action. 


With mayors being a central aspect of state politics, it’s important to note the substantial efforts and responsibilities of politicians within these municipalities. 


Senior Riley Woods, who was selected to attend the Electric Cooperative DC Youth Tour, shares more information about the important responsibilities of state and local politicians: “ Local governments are responsible for local school qualities, public safety (local law enforcement), public transit, and housing assistance. The federal government is too large to be able to focus on the needs of each community, the citizens of each community hold a responsibility to be involved in their municipal elections to ensure the changes they want to see in their communities is achieved.” 


Criminal justice policy is shaped at the local level, with local prosecutors being the single most powerful people in the criminal justice system when it comes to deciding who goes to jail and who doesn’t. According to,  In 2016, more than 70 percent of prosecutors ran unopposed. With a lack of new politicians, successors are easily maintained and controlled by district attorneys. 


With responsibilities including working towards carbon neutrality, and keeping the public safe, state officials are also responsible for setting certain tax levels, and determining how revenue will be spread out across the state. They set election policy, including things like voter ID laws, and the procedure for redrawing Congressional districts every 10 years.


An array of students at Jonathan Alder High School are dedicated to following anything related to the government. All of these policies set at the local level make voting in local elections especially important. Eligible voter turnout is on the rapid decline. According to, only 15 to 27 percent of eligible voters actually cast their ballots in local elections. 


Senior Caleb Keene urges younger generations to begin following the election, hoping to spark a flame of curiosity within uninformed or uninterested students: “ We inherit this country, we should know how it works. We should be able to discuss the issues because it won’t be long before we vote on them.” 


For more information involving the importance and history of state/local elections, as well as how to vote in your local election, here are some informative websites.


How do elections work? 


This is why state and local elections are important 


Research of how all the state/local elections impact national elections


And how much stuff impact state/local elections have on our lives


Supreme court mechanics involved with the state government