OPINION: Indifference Is Not on the Ballot This Saturday, May 14

Glenn Mangurian

May 9, 2022 Submitted by Glenn Mangurian

Saturday, May 14, is Hingham town election day. Our democracy gives you the freedom to vote (or not vote). Please choose to vote!

Important Decisions
This year there are four contested town elections: School Committee (four candidates for three positions), Board of Assessors (two candidates for one position), Board of Health (two candidates for one position), and Sewer Commissioner (two candidates for one position).  There are seven uncontested races. In addition there is a ballot question related to the bond issue for the design and construction of a new swimming pool at the South Shore Country Club. The town meeting voted in favor of the pool by 77% - beyond the necessary 2/3 majority necessary. This ballot question must receive a majority vote to finally fund and move forward with the project.

Be Informed
Last April’s town elections drew 4,000 voters. That’s about only 22% of Hingham registered voters. Sure, Saturday is a popular day to run errands, take the kids to sporting events, plant your garden and do other activities that crowd out going to the polls. Also, many citizens are reluctant to vote for candidates for whom they are unfamiliar and whose qualifications they don’t know. Some make their decision on how many signs they see for a candidate around town.  Others may rely on friends and neighbors to make suggestions. Investing some time, however, to learn directly about the candidates and the issues will help you make an informed choice.

These days modern technology makes it easy to learn about those running for elected offices and their respective positions. You might start by going to the town website to learn about the responsibilities of each elected office. Many candidates have websites or Facebook pages where voters can find out contenders’ views on relevant topics as well as their qualifications. The Hingham League of Women Voters and the Hingham Unity Council held candidate forums that can be viewed on their respective web sites. It might be worth your taking a few minutes to hear from the aspirants in their own words.

Public Service Involves Stewardship
Remember, Hingham runs on volunteers. While we may think of Hingham as a small town, our annual budget now exceeds $138 million. Public service involves understanding the complexities of issues, overseeing town services and making financial and policy recommendations to the town meeting. We are fortunate to have many talented residents who are willing to give their time to act as stewards of our wonderful town.

Today, Hingham remains true to its tradition of its citizens being directly involved in what kind of town it is and will become. That is democracy in action. Don’t be indifferent. Your vote matters.

Glenn Mangurian is a Hingham resident of 36 years.  His book, Pushing the Edge of Thought, Possibility, and Action, is available on Amazon.  He welcomes your comments and can be reached at gmangurian@comcast.net

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