The dictionary defines “Victory” as “an act of defeating an enemy or opponent in a battle, game, or other competition.” I prefer the victory’s synonym, “Success,” A triumph, conquest, win, successful outcome, positive result or favorable result.”
Most victories come after a long process, Athletes train day and night to achieve victory, but more often, they achieve success. As with much in life, most victories don’t depend on how an individual performs, rather it’s about how a team performs. You can achieve success even amid defeat. However, some competitions depend on others far removed from the actual competition, such as voting.
How do you achieve victory in the political arena when you have to depend on others to act? Yes, candidates must work hard — and others must work hard on a candidate’s behalf — but it still comes down to the choices of what individual voters decide. Too many times, those individual voters decide to stay home.
Look at the last municipal race in Warner Robins that involved the mayor’s office in 2017. Three candidates, Joe Musselwhite, former mayor Chuck Shaheen and incumbent Randy Toms, vied for the position. At the time, Warner Robins had 39,126 registered voters. How many voted? This may surprise you, 6,797 or 17.37 percent. A whopping 32,329 voters stayed home. Another amazing statistic, 306 voters who cast ballots in the mayor’s race didn’t vote in the Post 1 race. It gets worse. In the special election in March 2021 to fill Daron Lee’s Post 1 position after his resignation, only 6.46 percent of the 50,692 registered voters cast ballots in that citywide race.
Once again on Nov. 2, voters will go to the polls and make their choices in the mayor’s race with three candidates — the incumbent, Randy Toms, attorney LaRhonda Patrick and accountant Stephen Baughier. The Post 1 citywide seat features Derek Mack, the incumbent, he won the seat earlier this year, Leslie Morales and Jonathan Nichols. Angie Eugene, Scott Howard and Keith Lauritsen, the incumbent, want to represent Post 3. Clifford Holmes, the incumbent, is being challenged by Michael Jones for the Post 5 seat.
All the candidates want victory, but each has only one vote to push them toward success. The International City that rightly touts its patriotism on its sleeve, is not so boastful when it comes to municipal elections. This will be the first election with the new rules passed by the Georgia General Assembly, earlier this year, to tamp down voter participation. This is what every voter should do.
1. If you are not registered to vote, you have until Oct. 4 to register. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license, or another state issued picture ID.
2. Check your voter registration at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do The My Voter Page will also list your polling location. And early voting locations and times.
3. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 22, 2021: Follow the directions before sending it in or dropping the ballot in a drop box (of which there are few). When requesting the absentee ballot, follow all directions. The process has been changed to discourage voters. Don’t forget to list your driver’s license number or other acceptable ID number, i.e., last four digits of your Social Security number.
In 2020 and early 2021, the sleeping giant of voter participation awoke and shook the nation, particularly here in Georgia sending, not only sending President Joe Biden to the White House but also Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to Washington. Was that an anomaly or will young and old voters, black, white, Latino and Asian voters once again show up and show out? If they do the Warner Robins municipal election could foreshadow another victory in 2022.
Written by Charles Richardson