Every election important

“It’s just a local election. So what?”

That will be the troubling thinking many registered voters will express today — either within their own minds or to others — as they try to justify not casting their ballots.

But that thinking not only will be wrong from an attitude perspective, it also will be in error from a factual one.

While today’s general election is in fact a “local” election, it’s also much more.

Besides the local offices that will be decided, voters will have the opportunity to select appellate court — statewide — judges and to vote “yes” or “no” on a statewide referendum.

Voters should not open themselves to someday regretting the results of today’s balloting, because they chose not to be involved in this important right and responsibility of citizenship.

Even with a moderate voter turnout, there could be some contests decided by one or several votes, especially in boroughs or townships.

That’s why it’s important that voting not be looked at in an irresponsible way.

A heavy turnout is the best turnout.

Here’s a brief rundown of what contests will be on all of Blair County’s ballots:

n One Pennsylvania Supreme Court seat to be filled and two Supreme Court retention elections to be decided.

n Four state Superior Court seats to be filled and one Superior Court question about whether a current judge should be retained.

n Two Commonwealth Court judges to be elected.

n A statewide referendum about whether the state constitution should be amended regarding taxation of Homestead properties. Read this question carefully before giving the question a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

n Election of a judge for the Blair County Court of Common Pleas, as well as a prothonotary and sheriff.

Meanwhile, four magisterial district judges will be selected for six-year terms. Altoona area voters will have two candidates from which to choose; for the other three seats the candidates are unopposed.

Altoona voters will fill four city council seats from a field of five candidates.

Each township and borough will have different names on their respective ballots for offices that are up for grabs.

In the townships, there will be supervisor, tax collector and auditor contests on the ballots, and in the boroughs, voters will elect mayors, council members, tax collectors and auditors.

It’s not uncommon, in the local municipalities, for voters to cast write-in votes, especially when there are no candidates on the ballot for certain offices. In fact, no office should be without listed candidates, but unfortunately that’s sometimes a reality.

A shortage of candidates isn’t facing the county’s seven school boards, however.

The board contests are of utmost importance because the successful candidates will decide issues such as budgets and taxation, construction and renovation projects, hirings, extracurricular activities, disciplinary measures — even issues impacting class sizes.

“It’s just a local election. So what?”

Most of the offices on today’s ballot are the closest to the people, affecting their everyday lives.

Don’t avoid going to your polling place today. Don’t be one of those registered voters who will be sorry tomorrow because they didn’t.

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