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You Can't Win if You Don't Play

A reminder about the importance of voting in the upcoming May 20 election in DeKalb County, especially for the Lakeside/Tucker area.

District 4 (Lakeside/Tucker) is now headed by Board Vice Chair Jim McMahan.  But contender Ella Smith has been campaigning for his seat, stating she will focus on the needs of the children.
District 4 (Lakeside/Tucker) is now headed by Board Vice Chair Jim McMahan. But contender Ella Smith has been campaigning for his seat, stating she will focus on the needs of the children.
Tuesday, May 20 is a big day for voting in DeKalb County.   

While we will not be voting on cities this year, there is still a very important group of people who will be selected, our school board members.  The decisions made by voters will have an impact on the direction of our school system and, quite possibly, the rate our local economy will recover from its recession.  

People buy homes based on a variety of factors, but one very important driver in their decision making is the quality of their nearby schools.  The situation in DeKalb became so dire that the Governor was required to step in and remove the former board for poor governance that contributed to the demise of a once renowned system.  

Since the removal of the former board, a new board with several of its members elected and the rest appointed, has made headway toward long-term improvements and sustainability of academic achievement for the future.  But, low voter turnout has plagued DeKalb and could easily be its demise again if we do not continue to keep this and other relevant subjects in the forefront of our conversations with one another.

Save Tucker! and Get the Cell Out - ATL are two groups that are working to bring updated information about the voting districts and those who are asking for your vote in this upcoming election.   But, you can't make a difference at the voting polls if you aren't registered.   And you can't vote if you don't remember to show up, or ask for an absentee ballot before the stated deadlines.  

You can do both of those things and find out even more about the TUESDAY, MAY 20 vote by accessing DeKalb Voter Current Elections or clicking this link directly for the online voter registration page.

And, remember, you do not have to declare a political party in Georgia.  You will be asked on polling day about which ballot you would like.  The only choices are "Republican, Democrat or Non-Partisan."  Since the school board election is non-partisan, you will still get to vote on it by asking for a non-partisan ballot, but you will not receive a chance to influence either of the other primary elections.   So, to accomplish both of those objectives,  ask for the ballot that will allow you to vote on as many of the  seats that will affect you and your area the most.  Sample ballots are available online as well.

Parents, remember to take your children with you to the polls.  Its never too early to start teaching them good habits that will last a lifetime.  By showing them how easy it is and telling them why you are voting, you are impacting not only the outcome for today, but helping to ensure we stay on the right path in the future.  

Don't forget to get an "I voted" Peach state sticker for your child (and yourself) to wear the rest of the day.  It is a great way to reward your child for good behavior at the polls and serves as a reminder to others throughout the day that they need to go vote as well.

When there is low voter turnout, decisions are made by special interest groups or others who may not be a true reflection of the majority of those who live near you.  When you show up, you are improving your own odds for getting results that will be fair and representative of your own community.  That's better odds than "winning" the lottery (school lotteries included)!  

So, remember to vote May 20.   Start researching the background of the School Board Candidates for your area today.  Don't assume that the incumbent is best or that party lines are always going to be in your best interest.  Vote responsibly!  

And remember that you can't VOTE if you don't REGISTER.  If you child recently turned 18, help him or her get registered so they vote in this May 20 election, too!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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