Let’s do a better job of voting when Nov. 7 special election rolls around

Published 10:12 am Friday, July 21, 2017

Author Peter Benchley wrote the line, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,” when setting up the drama for his novel “Jaws.”

The novel, then blockbuster movie, laid out the horrors of a larger-than-life shark as it terrorized a New England community, and the heroism of a few to hunt down and kill it.

Such is the case when it comes to campaign seasons and politics. This calendar year has seen plenty of campaigns and politics, enough to consider the word politics among other unfavorable 8-letter words like homework, deadline and broccoli.

We have survived a municipal election season in Vicksburg, the installation of a new city charter, appointments of a new police chief and fire chief and, as a nation, survived the first 182 days of the courtship of President Donald Trump, the press and Congress.

Now, just when you thought it was safe, there is more.

Wednesday, Gov. Phil Bryant set Tuesday, Nov. 7, as the date for a special election to fill a seat in the House of Representatives, left vacant by the resignation of now Vicksburg South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour.

In addition to the declaration of the special election date, Bryant set Sept. 18 as the qualifying deadline and, if no candidate earns a majority in the special election, Bryant set Nov. 28 as a date for a run-off.

And, if you think your vote does not count — and there are plenty of you out there who do given the poor voter turnout in recent elections — remember these points:

• Only 30 percent of registered voters in Vicksburg turned out to vote in the June 6 general election.

• While the race for mayor was a blowout, North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield won re-election by a slim margin and Monsour won his seat by just eight — that’s right eight — votes.

• If just five of those ballots had been cast for incumbent South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson instead of Monsour, he would not have won.

The Jaws family had plenty of sequels and heroes in each installment.

As we enter back in the water for this round of politics, the heroes in this sequel are ourselves, our right to vote and the few minutes out of our day Tuesday, Nov. 7 to cast our vote.