WYPR: Primary election voter turnout critical to Baltimore’s future

Editor’s note: The following commentary aired on WYPR.org on April 19, 2016.

One week from today, on April 26, Baltimore City voters will determine much about the future direction of the city.

A number of important elected seats are at stake in the primary election that day: mayor, city council president, comptroller and 14 seats on the Baltimore City Council.

By any measure this is a pivotal primary election, especially in the mayoral contest. With Democratic voters outnumbering Republicans 10-1 in the city, it’s likely the Democratic primary winner in the mayor’s race will go on to be Baltimore’s next mayor.

The primary election coincides with the one-year anniversary of the civil unrest that occurred in parts of the city after the death of Freddie Gray.

Hopefully this serves as a reminder to city voters that the unrest brought to light a number of issues that have challenged Baltimore for decades, such as poverty, educational achievement, crime and economic disparities.

These issues underscore that Baltimore is in need of inspiring, thoughtful leadership, and a mayor that will be a transformational leader.

Voters should focus on the candidates with bold and innovative ideas and a roadmap to take on Baltimore’s challenges while leveraging its great strengths.

Previous primary elections have yielded turnout of only 30 percent of city voters. That means that a little more than 100,000 voters could determine the future direction of Baltimore.

Hopefully, past trends won’t hold and the city will see record turnout in this critical election.

Indeed, with so much at stake, every vote is needed to ensure that change and inspired leadership is what Baltimore gets in this pivotal election year.

I’m Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Listen to the commentary here.

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