Happy, happy Friday to you.
I’m a numbers person. Did you know that about me? I mean, you know I’m a writer. But I’m also a numbers person. I’ve been tutoring or studying or teaching math since I was in high school. My day job is with an educational technology company that uses neuroscience to help kids learn math. Numbers are my thing. So here are some numbers for you.
17,236 | 2,875 | 16.5 | 87.3 | 9 | 8
I bet you already know what these numbers mean. But, in case you don’t…
17,236: The number of people eligible to vote in tomorrow’s town election. This is 135 less than last year - but proportionally, about the same. As there are about 22,000 adults living in Burlington, and not all are eligible to register, this seems like a pretty high proportion of our population is registered to vote. That’s awesome!
2,875: The number of people who voted in last year’s local election. Womp womp. Not so awesome.
16.5: I’m sure you know this one. This is the percentage voter turnout last year - and it’s been right around that for three years running. Most years before that, it’s actually been lower! For comparison, here is the latest local election turnout for some neighboring towns & cities:
Bedford - 29%
Billerica - 13.8%
Lexington - 27.1%
Wilmington - 6.6%
Woburn - 24.6%
I’m sure you can look at those numbers and form some questions or draw some conclusions. But I’m not using these numbers in a competitive way. I’m using them to illustrate that local voter turnout isn’t a Burlington problem. Low turnout is everywhere, and it’s more pronounced in some places than others. But let’s contrast that with the next number.
87.3: Percent of voters who showed up at the polls for the 2020 presidential election. Almost literally, we reversed the number of people who did versus didn’t show up to vote. And this was in the middle of a pandemic!
We care about the big national elections. We care about primaries leading to the big national elections (43.8% of us showed up to the latest one). But to paraphrase one of my favorite readers, Which is closer: Washington, D.C., or Burlington?
I’m not going to argue that the national elections aren’t important. But I am going to argue that the local election is just as important, if not more so. We choose, through our local elections, who will make decisions for the place where we live on a daily basis. They choose where our tax dollars go (and for those of us who don’t pay real estate taxes, our elected officials are still voting to determine what amenities are available for our community).
Name something in town you care about, and I (or someone, because I’m still learning) can tell you how it’s related to town government.
Now, I know some of our seats aren’t contested this year. I’m hoping that changes in years to come, but for now, it is what it is. If you’re not jazzed about voting for uncontested seats, I understand that. But there are some very important seats up for grabs that are contested. And your voice can help shape the future of the town.
9: The day in April when you’ll cast your ballot.
8: The time polls open, and the time they close.
See you tomorrow, friends. Don’t forget to flip on BCAT at 8 so you can see live results.
P.S. Don’t forget about Rest & Recycle. From 10-4 at BHS, you can stop by and buy a new mattress after you cast your vote. You can also bring anything with a plug to be upcycled from 10-2! The sale will benefit Burlington Music Students.
P.P.S. Seems like the duplicate email issue isn’t yet fixed. My sincerest apologies for that. It’s a platform problem, and there’s nothing I can do about it besides telling the platform they’ve got a problem, which I’ve done and will continue to do until they’ve fixed it. Thanks for your patience with this. They are “performing maintenance” this morning, according to my dashboard, so hopefully we will see a resolution soon.
Duplicate emails are back. Only one day with no duplicates.
Great work just wanted to let you know that duplicate emails are fixed.