Thursday, April 10, was election day in the towns of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and West Tisbury. The turnout in Oak Bluffs was 24 per cent of eligible voters, compared to slightly less than 10 per cent in West Tisbury and approximately eight per cent in Edgartown. In Oak Bluffs, voters decided on six contested positions: a member of the board of selectmen, finance committee, planning board, school board, water commission and wastewater commission. In addition, they voted on three override questions: an assessment of an additional $600,000 in real estate and personal property taxes, approval of a new bond issue to pay for the costs of constructing a new town hall and a new bond issue to pay for the costs of construction of a new fire station.
The previous Tuesday’s town meeting was attended by only 10 per cent of the eligible voters, but those attending were prepared to question and discuss the issues presented. In order for a democracy to remain viable, participation by voters is essential. Many brave souls have fought to live in a free country and to defend its principles.
I hope that the other towns on the Island would, in the future, continue to foster democracy putting decisions back into the hands of many. For further inspiration, think of downloading a song recorded in 1962 by Peter, Paul and Mary entitled If I Had a Hammer.