How Do Local Elections Affect Your Money?

Posted by Nailah Herbert in Life EventsNovember 8, 2021(Last Updated July 25, 2022)3 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Although the United States presidential elections are closely followed across the nation, local elections are equally important, as they can affect your finances.
  • Local government pertains to the administration of a particular town, city, county, or district, with representatives elected by citizens in those areas.
  • Local government officials, such as mayors, city council members, and school boards, can affect how and where your tax dollars are spent.
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Voting during the presidential elections every four years can be incredibly influential, as the President passes laws directly affecting the nation. However, it is equally essential to be aware of your local elections, as they can also affect your community, city, or state. 


This year, the general elections were on November 2, 2021. The federal-level contested only six (6) House seats. On the state level, three (3) governor positions were also contested. On the local level, many mayoral elections took place, as well as city council elections and a comptroller election.


Polls showed a low voter turnout on election day. However, regardless of how many people are registered to vote and how many vote, results will still affect communities throughout the nation.


What Are Local Elections? 


Local government pertains to the administration of a particular town, city, county, or district, with representatives elected by the citizens who live in those areas. The local government is responsible for policies and local laws that will have a direct impact on your life. 


They are also responsible for many issues such as rent cost, affordable housing, public transportation, school care, public safety, police accountability, job training programs, city/community colleges, and much more. Therefore, local governments must adhere to the needs of its community.   


What Does it Mean When a Newly Elected Official Comes Into Office?


When a newly elected official is appointed to the city or town’s office, they must represent the community and implement processes and legislation to serve their citizens better.


If you are new to voting, it is essential to know the governmental hierarchy on the local level. There are many branches within the local government, and it’s crucial to know each one because they all affect specific changes and policies that happen in your city or town. Those roles include but are not limited to:


Mayor (also known as City Manager) is responsible for the city’s daily operations and management, including the state’s yearly budgets. The mayor can also appoint or dismiss leaders of specific city departments, such as the Chief of Police. 


Mayoral candidate Eric Adams was endorsed by local Amalgamated Transit Union officials in front of Pioneer Transportation Corporation.

Image Credit: lev radin / 


City Council is a group of elected members who create local laws, develop initiatives designed to benefit the city, and approve/reject leaders of several departments. They also have the power to decide where the taxpayer’s money will go, such as building adequate roads and fixing potholes.


District Attorney (or City Attorney) is responsible for being the chief law enforcement for the communities that they serve.


School Boards are responsible for setting policies, curriculums, and budgets for the districts they account for. They are the linking factor between schools, students, and communities. 


Each local governmental department is essential because it helps the city or town in different ways. 


How Do Local Elections Affect Citizens’ Money?


There are numerous government officials on the local level who have the power and resources to help communities thrive or merely survive. During local elections, voters elect someone who will represent the community and advocate for its members. 


State comptrollers (or state controllers) are responsible and accountable for their state’s financial resources. A state comptroller’s job is to oversee audits and financial reporting on behalf of the taxpayers of that state. This allows taxpayers to feel secure that their money is being used properly.


Additionally, local officials may pass economic laws to increase the minimum wage or build affordable housing for low-to-moderate-income families. Through these legislative initiatives, many citizens may benefit economically through lower rent or higher salaries.


As mentioned before, state and local governments significantly affect the citizens of their communities. A few policies that have originated at the state and local levels are women’s suffrage, minimum wage, marriage equality, and environmental protection. 


Regardless of your political party, the laws passed by your elected officials will affect your community and even your financial situation. Therefore, it is vital to know your local government to understand how your money can be affected.


Please share this article with your community members to help educate them about local elections. Leave a comment or question below if you enjoyed this article.


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