05/03/06 — Prepare to choose: Primary is over; now it is time to start researching contenders

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Prepare to choose: Primary is over; now it is time to start researching contenders

The primary election is over, and the slate has been set for the November contest.

Congratulations are due to the winners. Also to be commended are those who did not capture their seats this time, but who threw their hats into the ring.

Both the winners and the other candidates put weeks of campaigning into the effort to earn a chance to be on the ballot this fall. That hard work was rooted in a desire to serve, a trait that is not a common one these days. Most people would never even consider offering themselves as a candidate for public service. So, the men and women who volunteered themselves for that task should be commended, even if their efforts did not result in victory.

But now all that is past. The primary is over and the stage has been set for November.

There will be many more debates before then — and a few more key races will be added to the mix. Voters will be busy in November, which, for now, seems very far away.

But unfortunately it really isn’t. Wayne County voters have to get to work over the next few months. We have an important task ahead — choosing who will lead us and serve us in the coming years.

One of the disappointing aspects of this primary — and any primary, really — is the dismal turnout. As is the case most years, a very small percentage of eligible Wayne County voters made the choices Tuesday. Many residents simply chose not to participate.

And keep in mind, this election was really about parties and ideology. Republicans and Democrats were choosing whom they wanted to represent them on the November ticket. It would have seemed logical to assume that an election like this would have generated a stronger interest among party faithful. Those numbers weren’t too good either.

And while it would be nice to assume November will be different, evidence suggests that’s not likely either.

Even presidential elections usually post somewhat stronger, although still lower, turnout numbers — a fact that should embarrass any American who claims to understand how lucky he or she is to live in a country where a choice really is possible.

There is not an election held in this county or this country that is not important. Being a citizen is a responsibility that requires participation, and while some voters might have skipped the primary, we should make sure that our voices are heard in November.

And that means getting prepared well in advance of the day before the vote.

There will be important choices to be made this fall — and input is needed from all over the county. Voters should pledge now to make the time to be part of that decision-making process in November.

Published in Editorials on May 3, 2006 7:46 AM