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Thoughts On The Preliminary Election

The Time Has Come For The Ballot

Stop Yelling At Each Other And Vote

by William Legault


Tomorrow at 7 A.M. the polls will open for the 2019 Salem preliminary election. In a town where everybody has an opinion whether it be educated or not, this is where the rubber meets the road. There are two questions, each equally important that will be answered once the ballots are counted tomorrow night. 

Who will be eliminated? If you are here looking for me to predict who will be on the bottom of the ballot, read no more. I am not a political Nostradamus. The future is as unknown to me as anyone else. Yes I have my thoughts on the matter. It serves no productive purpose however, for me too personally try to influence votes except to massage my own ego. I have no desire to do so, and  resent when I see elected officials or other public figures do it. If you want my thoughts on this speak to me personally.

The one thing that I will say is that beyond the four open seats, one in the at-large race, and one each in Ward 3 and Ward 6, and one in the school committee race it is entirely possible that more change could be coming. Incumbents in the city wide council field have not been running all that strongly in the last few election cycles. This I know on a personal level. Some of the challengers have worked very hard the old school way by knocking on doors and using mailings. But they have also been very visible on social media. Knocking off an incumbent in the preliminary is probably not in the cards. If it happens it will have to wait for the November general election.

The more important question is how many voters will turn out. My guess is that when the smoke clears tomorrow night, there will still be more opinions out there than votes. After all Salem seldom turns out many voters in preliminary elections, especially when the ballot doesn’t include a mayoral, state level, or national election.  Many of the various angry characters who are out there on both sides of Salem divide, those who excrete venomous bile from their fingertips as they opine on Facebook will not turn out. It’s just too difficult to arrange their day to allow for the ten minutes it takes to vote.

That aside. All elections are important. None more the other. To vote is to give yourself a voice in how Salem is run. If you go into the voting booth with anger in your heart, slow down and take a minute to breathe. We’ve been watching an angry city council work for the last two years and its not been pretty. The vindictive politics of anger have never, do not now, and will never serve the public well. Vote your candidate, but do it with a good heart and a clear mind.

There were more opportunities for voters to get to know candidates this year than at any other time in recent memory. The Salem News ran their regular candidate profiles last week. We here at Salem Digest posed questions to all of the candidates. 16 of them were nice enough to respond and so far almost 2,000 people have seen their answers. Three neighborhood associations and the League of Women Voters held candidate forums or debates. The Rainbow Times taped and posted live interviews with candidates. Salem Access Television did their usual yeoman’s work in making those forums accessible to you. There is no excuse for any Salem voter to be unaware of who a candidate is, or where that candidate stands on the issues.

Get out there tomorrow and vote. Vote for your candidate. Vote to have a voice. Vote so that we all have a voice.

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