ONE OF THE greatest rights we have as Americans is the privilege to vote. And yet too often, many people ignore that right.
On election day Tuesday, the voting turnout again is expected to be slight because it’s not a presidential election year. But everyone needs to realize, the people who affect your lives most are local officials.
They are the ones who raise your local taxes or determine what administrators are hired to run your school districts. People who sit on local boards have much more direct control over your families than national officials — Obamacare aside of course.
Much of the attention is on the judge’s race for Mercer County Common Pleas Court where Republican Daniel Wallace and Democrat Victor Heutsche square off to fill the seat left by retiring John Reed. While parties really shouldn’t matter for judge candidates, the qualifications of the pair are listed in today’s Voter’s Guide.
Also, current judge Christopher St. John is up for retention and simply requires a yea or nay nod whether voters want him to serve another 10-year term. Remember, a straight-party vote doesn’t cast a vote where retention is concerned. You need to go to that part of the ballot separately.
At the county level, another race of interest is for treasurer. Incumbent Ginny Steese-Richardson, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Marci Radcliffe.
But maybe even more imporant are the races for school director or for municipal offices in our numerous cities, townships or boroughs.
And voters should remember that they will be asked by poll workers to show identification. A Voter ID law passed in Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been challenged in the courts ever since.
However, the only voters who will be required to show identification right now are first-time voters and voters who are voting for the first time in a new precinct. While others may still vote without ID, anyone not showing one will be presented with a letter detailing the ID types that may be required if the current law is eventually upheld in the court system.
Over in Ohio, Brookfield Township voters will be asked to pass levies to support police and fire services.
In today’s Herald we have our annual Voter’s Guide.
Take a look at it to review some of your possible choices. The list of candidates for all offices are available for each voting precinct on the Web at www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us/election/#VoterGuides
Remember, every vote counts. Anyone who doubts that only needs to look back at past elections, where ties occurred in some municipal or school races and seats were filled by a flip of a coin.
And you know what some people say: “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about taxes!”
And not to complain about taxes would be un-American – like not voting.