New York City’s mayoral campaign has attracted a huge amount of attention from the media over the past few months, with countless stories gracing the pages of this and many other newspapers. It is nearly impossible to go a day without hearing the latest from the campaign trail. Still, despite the importance of choosing our city’s next mayor and positions such as Comptroller, District Attorney and Council Member, history indicates that many in our community will fail to cast a ballot on Tuesday. This is a big problem for us. With today’s technology, elected officials now know exactly which communities vote and which don’t. They respond to them accordingly.
There are three good reasons why you should vote even if you are not happy with your options on the ballot. First, while you may not like every candidate, the reality is every elected official wants to work with a community that is engaged. If you don’t vote, we may suffer a fate worse than having politicians we don’t like — we may have politicians who ignore us.
Second, your vote actually matters. Less than two years ago we had a race for State Senate in this community where after 25,000 votes cast, the contest was decided by just 16 votes. Just a few weeks ago, Chaim Deutsch won the Democratic Primary by only a few hundred voters, giving him the possibility of joining me as the second frum New York City Councilman. Only if you vote on Tuesday, November 5th.
Finally, as your elected official, I can’t do my job unless I can convince the other elected and appointed officials that the frum community is engaged and that we will hold them accountable for their actions at the ballot box. Our community has a lot of needs. Some of those needs are being met. Others are not. While in the past few years we have had great success in securing millions of dollars for parks and libraries, improving our yeshivah bus transportation and providing major funding for our seniors, we still have a way to go in bringing more resources to our yeshivos and resolving the housing shortage, for example. The only way we can get government to address these issues is by getting out a large block of votes on Election Day. Regardless of who you actually vote for, it is critical that you show up in large numbers and ensure that our collective voice is heard and our community receives the services and attention it needs and deserves.
One final thought: if you don’t vote, you might not be happy with the representation that your neighbors choose for you. That alone should be incentive enough. So please join me this Tuesday in exercising our greatest right and fulfilling our biggest duty as American citizens while flexing our community’s political muscle and making our voices heard. It will only take you a few minutes and will pay off for years to come.
If you have any questions about your polling site or have problems voting on Election Day, please feel free to call my office at (718) 853-2704. We will have election experts available all day to help you help our community.