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EDITORIAL: You done good, Greene!

EDITORIAL: You done good, Greene!

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Happy Birthday! Oh wait, that’s what Frosty the Snowman says when his magical hat brings him to life and not what’s said when we make it through another election.

It does feel like we’re able to take our first deep breath all year, though.

In Virginia, we’re “blessed” to hold an election every year and it’s exhausting. This year, it’s certainly been especially exhausting—from social unrest in cities throughout the country, several very contentious elections that are not yet finished, a worldwide pandemic with millions infected and hundreds of thousands dead, an economic collapse that we’re starting to climb out of, the education system turned on its head, and so much more—and it’s only mid-November.

That’s why it’s important to celebrate little victories and we think last week’s Election Day in Greene County qualifies. In a small county such as ours, 79% of registered voters turned out to vote—whether early in-person, in-person on Election Day or through mail-in ballots.

We could not say it any better than Greene County Registrar Jennifer Lewis-Fowler did:

“Greene County citizens should be proud of how they turned out, voted and behaved on Election Day. It is a serious, patriotic occasion. People were patient and courteous. With all the emotions and feelings that can be stirred up by ads and social media, it is very noteworthy that here, in Greene County, we set an example for all. We hope our voters saw their neighbors and friends serving at the polls as officers of election. Our election officials were joined by our sheriff’s department, state police, school officials and all the other people who work to make our Election Days go smoothly.”

Voting is a special privilege and one we should exercise every change we get. Each election, we encourage participation, and we were so proud to see our fellow citizens making sure—even in a pandemic—that their voices are heard.

We’d like to make a plea, however, that fellow residents continue to stoke that passion for civic participation beyond presidential years. It’s your local government that sets your personal property and real estate tax rates. It’s your local government that sets meals taxes and transient occupancy taxes. It’s your local government that decides how all those funds are divided among its departments, including public safety, schools and social services. It’s local government that decides land-use issues. It’s your local governmental boards that are touching your lives every single day, but it’s the same faces in the audience at every board meeting—if there’s anyone there from the public other than us.

Don’t just wait every four years to have your voice heard when you can do it locally every day—from volunteering on boards and commissions to attending meetings monthly.

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