On Page E3 of Thursday’s Daily Item were some of the most important pieces of information in the entire newspaper that day. There, amid the Classified section, is a public notice from Northumberland County’s Board of Elections. It notes the deadline for filing petitions for the May primary election along with a list of offices that will be on the ballot.
The notice covers nearly half a page. It lists 260 positions up for grabs in May, just in Northumberland County.
We wonder how many of those lines — which represent 520 spots considering the primary sets the Democratic and Republican nominees — will be filled when voters head to the polls on May 18? Unfortunately, it’s probably a safe bet that more spots on the ballot will be empty than have names next to them.
That has been the case in most elections in recent years, especially in municipal races. While higher-profile races — the ones that draw large numbers to the polling stations — always have candidates, far too often local elections have no candidates or just one.
Last year, none of the Valley’s U.S. or State Representatives had primary challengers.
At a time when the nation is divided politically and everyone is an expert on all of the key issues on social media, now is the time to stand up. That is unless you are more comfortable being a Facebook/Twitter flamethrower as opposed to really standing up and making and difference, which is often the case today.
Accountability is tough. Governing is hard. We get that.
There are 260 opportunities in Northumberland County.
There 34 spots available for school boards in Danville, Line Mountain, Milton, Sham-okin, Shikellamy, Southern Columbia and Warrior Run.
Mayor positions are on the ballot in Herndon, Kulpmont, Marion Heights, Milton, Mount Carmel, Northumberland, Riverside, Snydertown, Turbotville, Watsontown, Sunbury and Shamokin, along with council seats in just about all of those municipalities.
Dozens of township supervisor slots are open too, from Coal Township to Zerbe Township.
A few county row offices are also up for grabs.
The numbers will be on a smaller scale in the other Valley counties, but there will clearly be opportunities there as well.
If you want to serve, now is the chance. Nominating petitions are due in the county election office by the close of business on March 9, so the clock is ticking.
The long-standing mantra that “all politics is local” is true. Understandably, 2020 was a year when the presidential election dominated the ballot and 2022 will be highlighted by governor and U.S. Senate races in Pennsylvania. This year is about local people standing up to govern locally.
Don’t miss your chance.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.