UPDATE: Randall Woodfin has been declared the winner of Birmingham’s mayoral race, beating incumbent William Bell. Please stay tuned for updates.
PREVIOUSLY: Birmingham divided by mayoral runoff, but is it enough to increase voter turnout?
Will it be out with the old and in with the new? Birmingham votes for its next mayor today, via a runoff between incumbent William Bell and Randall Woodfin.
Today is the day, Birmingham. If you live within the city limits and care how your tax dollars are being spent, then vote! Gees, why do I have to tell you this? Oh yeah, because voter turnout is abysmal in this town.
Why Don’t You Vote?
I’ve heard it all from friends, strangers and readers. It’s not worth it. No one cares about city politics. My vote counts for zip.
You Should Vote NOW
Well, none of that is true, although you are certainly entitled to your opinion.
- Your vote is most definitely worth it. While Birmingham (and the state’s) voter turnout has been historically low, that doesn’t mean it has to be. I mean, come on. We can do better than 21%. Truth be told, 21% is better than the 15% it was, but good grief, Charlie Brown.
- The last time Birmingham had a 50% voter turnout was 10 years ago, when Larry Langford was on the ballot. Here’s the kicker: voting for your next mayor is actually more important than voting for the next president. Why is that? Because, in local elections, politicians listen to your collective voices. And, don’t forget your House and Senate leaders carry that voice to the state.
Oh, We Care
- If you think no one cares about city politics, then you must not follow the I Believe In Birmingham Facebook page. It’s pretty intense, ya’ll. I mean, there are paid trolls (allegedly), lots of back and forth and purported scandals, like the time Randall Woodfin (allegedly) dropped a water bottle on the ground and was accused of littering. Oh, and that time (last week) Mayor Bell put out huge, empty boxes all over town to lure Amazon to the Magic City. Was it just a last-minute stunt? Does it really matter if it gets Amazon here? Is that what you want?
- Voting answers all those questions. That Facebook page boasts 20K followers, and not only do they contribute to the local civic discussion but they are proof that folks care about what happens in this city. I mean, they obvs Believe In Birmingham. Why don’t you?
- Your vote most definitely counts. See #1.
- This go ’round, Bell is focusing on his experience, and Woodfin is all about change. If you need to know more about the candidates, check out Bham Now’s Voter Guide. It will fill you in on your polling place, your district, the candidates and more.
Polls opened at 7 AM today, and they’ll be open till 7 PM tonight.
I hope to see you out there. Stay tuned for an up-to-the-minute update on the winners of Birmingham’s mayor, city council and BOE races.