Monday marked the beginning of early voting for the May 20 primary election. If you have not already exercised your civic duty, let me encourage you to do so.
Why not? You might be able to make an argument that your vote doesn’t really count when it comes to the big national elections, but that is definitely not the case in local races. Often, a local contest is decided by a mere handful of votes.
In the last primary election, held in July 2012, less than a third of registered voters came to the polls in Columbia County. In the election befor that, less than a quarter of registered voters cast a ballot. It would be optimistic to bet the numbers will be any higher come May 20.
That’s a shame, but it’s the reality in a country that pays more attention to the latest on Honey Boo-Boo, than to what elected officials are doing in our name.
With that in mind, I acknowledge that it is likely a silly and futile execise for me to even be writing this. I suspect that if you take the time to get this deep in the local newspaper, you probably make an effort to get to the polling place as well.
But perhaps you are one of those on the fence or a bit uncertain about voting. In that case, you should at least educate yourself about the issues and the candidates.
A video of a recent forum of Columbia County candidates, co-sponsored by the News-Times and the Chamber of Commerce, is available on the newspaper website: newstimesonline.com. Also, starting Sunday, the New-Times will publish interviews with the candidates, beginning with the two running for the Commission District 1 seat: Hafeez Chaudhry and Doug Duncan.
It is just a start. The rest is up to you.