Editorial: Vote -- and make a difference for city's future
As the city's often raucous, occasionally illuminating, sometimes bizarre 2013 primary campaigns lurch to a halt tomorrow, we have an urgent plea:
Get out there and vote!
Seriously, no excuses. Could voter outreach efforts be better? Absolutely. Could the field of candidates be more exciting? Yes. Could the Board of Elections be more effective? Without a doubt.
But these aren't acceptable reasons to shirk your duty.
The city is making the first cut among the contenders for the office Mayor Michael Bloomberg has occupied for almost 12 years. And while the city has improved in many ways during his mayoralty, he leaves a long list of tough problems to solve: stop and frisk, a lack of affordable housing, more than 150 city union contracts to negotiate, a school system that's still struggling.
Your vote will have an impact.
Don't believe us? Consider what happened last time.
The last election cycle began with a 2008 City Council vote to change term-limits law and let the mayor, council members and borough presidents run for third terms.
But in the citywide primary the next year, just 11 percent of eligible Democrats bothered to show up at the polls. In the general election that year, only 26 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. As a result, Bloomberg was elected to a third term by the surprisingly thin margin of 5 percentage points in an election that most people sat out.
New Yorkers are still fuming. At candidate forums across the city, citizens regularly vent their anger with the council for "giving" Bloomberg a third term. But they're not the only culprits.
The council gave Bloomberg the right to run for a third term. Bloomberg's $90-million campaign and an election cycle too many New Yorkers ignored got him elected.
Our point isn't to knock Bloomberg. It's simply to note the discontent over his third term and to point out to eligible voters: You don't get a voice if you don't play the game. In the November 1953 election, 93 percent of the city's voters turned out. We'd like to see those days return.