Politics is all around us. However, as the media continues its seemingly endless stream of discussing COVID-19 and federal and state politicians try to find solutions for the ongoing crisis, we tend to forget that beyond state and federal politics, political decisions are also made on a local level. City and municipal governments are responsible for concerns, such as local infrastructure, culture or sports.But even though the things that affect people’s daily lives the most have to do with their home towns or regions, many people don’t participate in local politics. In the election of the local parliaments in Hamburg (2019), only 38.9% of registered voters voted. This trend is not unique to Hamburg but can be seen in many other major cities and municipalities.
In class, we discussed that apathy and low turnout should not continue to define local elections. There should not be a trade-off between learning about federal elections and local elections, and, as such, people should take the time to become informed about their local elections. Local elections have important consequences and voters should not dismiss them.
But how can we increase people’s participation in those local elections? This was the question that students were invited to answer. They made memes and campaign posters that speak especially to a younger audience and highlight the importance of voting in local elections. Maybe you feel encouraged to vote in the upcoming local election, too?