There are 18 days until Election Day and just six days until early voting begins.
The fact an election is approaching surely is obvious to local residents, thanks to campaign signs seemingly everywhere, mailboxes full of political mailers every day, social media content taking a partisan approach and ads prevalent on television and in local print publications.
However, there is a difference between a general awareness of an election approaching and being specifically informed on the many choices voters will have when they participate in the most fundamental of citizen obligations – the right to vote.
Although it’s critical for voters to be educated on local and state races of importance, we understand why many people are turned off by politics. The nasty mailers, featuring terrible photos of elected officials and contextually inaccurate rhetoric and allegations, serve little purpose in informing citizens. In many cases, they are thrown away immediately as a result. The garbage is where a majority of these mailers belong because they are simply intended to trash individuals.
As candidates continue to battle it out in the final weeks, it’s imperative for voters to become educated about their choices. We are trying to do our part by previewing every election of importance to the local citizenry. We believe there’s an appetite among voters for information on the candidates, and it’s our duty to provide as many as facts about their backgrounds and positions as possible.
This week’s State Senate forum is evidence of that interest to a degree. About 300 people turned out to hear incumbent Senator Jim Mathias and challenger Delegate Mary Beth Carozza discuss issues of importance to the district. This is a fascinating race for the shore that is being closely followed at the state level. As a result, it’s also one of the most divisive in the state.
We encourage residents to take a deep dive into their decisions on election day. Political pundits maintain a majority of voters simply vote along party lines these days, ignoring the individual races and simply going all the way right or left depending on their leanings. That’s a shame.
Whatever your party preference, we encourage citizens to consider the individuals on the ballot regardless of affiliations and read and learn about them before they cast their opinions. It’s an important process that deserves some reflection rather than simply checking one side of the ballot arbitrarily.