Every year, the first week of November is marked by Election Day. Though there are no presidential or congressional elections being held this year, voting is still deserving of a high level of attention. The UR community should make a concerted effort to vote in local elections.

Local politics are often overlooked, despite having more of a direct impact on quality of life than national politics. Our decentralized political system puts great emphasis on local government to manage counties and municipalities. Strong local leadership builds quality infrastructure, plows roads, improves housing stock, reduces crime and develops vacant lots and buildings. All eligible voters should fulfill their commitment to society by exercising their right to vote.

For those who are registered to vote outside Monroe County, this election should remind them of their responsibilities back home. Applying for absentee ballots – if not for this election, elections in the future – should become a regular part of preparing for the upcoming school year.

UR students registered to vote in Monroe County should be aware of the local elections being held this year, especially city elections. Since the Rochester community is in need of strong leadership, great emphasis is placed on the mayoral race. As a city that holds promise and opportunity, Rochester is also struggling with high crime, strong unemployment and poverty. Those eligible to vote have the opportunity to weigh in on these issues – especially drug enforcement, loitering laws and tax reform – by casting their vote in Tuesday’s elections. Though students may not receive direct benefit, any improvement to Rochester will improve UR’s image and morale. Those elected into office next week, namely the new mayor, will have a great influence on keeping or changing economic and crime policies.

With the money invested in the Rochester economy by the UR community – not to mention UR’s position as the city’s largest employer – UR is an influential factor in local politics and is often a key aspect of development and revitalization projects. The role that the UR plays in the Rochester reinforces the importance for its faculty, staff and students to participate in the upcoming elections.

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