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Don’t sit on the sidelines

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a school board election coming up in Prince Edward, as the county’s first, in fact, as decided upon by a majority of voters in the November presidential election.

The decision to switch from an appointed system of governing school operations came with a landslide majority, who preferred the direct election of school board members instead of having members of the board of supervisors appointing them.

The referendum passed with 76.28 percent of the 8,350 voters choosing “Yes,” and the remaining 23.72 percent of voters choosing “No” to the question of whether the school board members should be elected over the appointed system.

It’s now time for those who voted in favor of such a system to step up to the plate and play ball.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. One can’t simply sit on the sidelines and expect the system to operate by itself. Democracy requires involvement — like the vast number of people who voted in favor of electing school board members — to ensure representation on all levels of government.

We reported last week that, as of May 24, no one had filed to run in the first school board election in Prince Edward County — set to take place Nov. 4.

The deadline to file is June 13 at 7 p.m. — less than seven business days from June 2.

As I said in early November, a school board directly elected by the people offers a direct line to school board members and, in a way, makes their actions more worthy to the voters and taxpayers.

Under a directly-elected school board, more citizens have interest in seeking the positions, knowing that their neighbors, friends and fellow taxpayers will have the say.

According to Voter Registrar Lynette Wright, prospective candidates have to file four forms, including a certificate of candidate qualifications, the declaration of candidacy, a statement of economic interest and a petition of at least 125 qualified voters.

The only way an elected school board will work in Prince Edward County is if people become involved, run for office and encourage others to do the same — democracy, in other words.

JORDAN MILES is managing editor of The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Jordan.Miles@FarmvilleHerald.com.