The Globe’s Point: Voting is Important

Last week, Pittsburgh went to the polls, or more accurately 33% of Pittsburgh went to the polls. There are more than 924,000 registered voters—almost one million—in Allegheny County, but only a little over 300,000 people turned out last Tuesday. In the state of Pennsylvania, there’s over 8 million people registered, and only 736,000 people turned out.

What’s interesting about these numbers is their juxtaposition to last year’s presidential election. Around 76.5% of all registered voters showed up in the state of Pennsylvania, a record-smashing turnout. Obviously, that election was one of the most important elections in history, so it makes sense that turnout would be higher than usual.

It’s understandable to feel burnt out from politics, especially after how intense the previous election cycle was. It’s also easy to think that only the presidential election matters, but that mentality is dangerous. Turning out to vote on off years like this is one way to have an incredibly direct impact on your community. The people who are elected to be justices of state courts will have just as much if not more impact on the city than who the president is and making your voice heard can directly benefit the people of this city.

It’s also worth noting that, in terms of direct legislative action, local and state governments do much more than the federal government. Throughout the pandemic, for example, the majority of regulations were left up to local governments.

Not only that, but the policy changes done at the local level can end up having a nationwide impact. Mayor Bill Peduto would frequently speak and attend climate change related conferences on both a nationwide and global level. Peduto’s stance on climate also ended up becoming a point in political advertisements in the 2020 election.

Which brings us to our point this week: voting is important. We want to encourage everyone, regardless of their party, to make sure that they maintain a healthy voice in our democracy.