It's obviously your business not to care about this, or any election. And while it's tough to say that the April 26 Special Election is truly any more important than, say, the November 2010 mayoral election, it's still pretty important given the circumstances.
Like much of the rest of the country, the District is suffering the consequences of the recession. The 2011 $188 million budget deficit has grown to $322 million for 2012. For the District to adequately weather the storm, its elected officials have to continue making tough choices, including cutting programs, slimming down the city's workforce and even potentially raising taxes. Everyone stands to be affected by what the D.C. Council decides this year.
And it'll be making those decisions sooner rather than later. The 2012 budget gets to the council in April, and within two months it has to be debated, amended, closed out and submitted to Congress. Whoever gets elected to fill the At-Large seat will jump into a very real debate over what direction out city takes next year, on everything from transportation to taxes and public schools to public safety.
Additionally, the recent scandals and controversies that have rocked the city's top two elected leaders remind us that the council's job is to provide oversight and demand accountability. There's no better time than now to make sure that whoever takes the At-Large seat on April 26 feels the public pressure to keep their colleagues on the council and throughout the District government honest, transparent and true to the hopes and aspirations of the people that elected them.
Finally, unlike a normal election cycle, this is really the only seat up for grabs. (OK, there are two vacant seats on the State Board of Education, but that's beyond the purview of this modest website.) You as a voter now have a better chance to hear out the candidates, ask them questions and let them know what you think. These candidates are seeking a seat that represents the whole city, and they'll be relatively unencumbered by parochial ward-specific concerns. It's not a joke to say that you have a big chance to make a difference -- especially since fewer people will likely vote than in November of last year.