At long last, time to vote

People across America, including thousands here in central Pennsyl­vania, are breathing the proverbial sigh of relief today — that the long, bitter, divisive 2018 mid-term election campaign finally is ending.

Fortunately for this part of the Keystone State, the campaign landscape was spared much of the bitterness and divisiveness that some other areas of the commonwealth — and numerous other states as a whole — experienced.

Some voters across the country are understandably disgusted over how some of the campaigns played out.

That said, what’s important to acknowledge now is that the campaign doesn’t really end for voters today until they have voted. And, because of the voter interest that the campaign has generated in most of the country, there are hopes and speculation that today’s balloting will set records.

Going into today, some states that allow early voting already had recorded extraordinary turnout. One important thing to keep in mind, though: The prospect of a high or record turnout — anywhere — shouldn’t be used as an excuse by any voter to shirk his or her responsibility to go to the polls.

Despite the prospects for robust turnout, judging from how this election campaign season has shaped up, no vote can be deemed unimportant.

Actually, every vote will be of utmost importance.

But back to “bitter and divisive”: Those two descriptions aren’t really accurate representations of how individual campaigns for state House and state Senate seats were waged in this part of the Keystone State during the months since nominees were selected in the May 15 primaries.

For the most part, the campaigns were a credit to the election process.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in many U.S. House and Senate races across the country; Pennsylvania’s actually were mild and respectful when stacked up against some other states.’

As for the Keystone State’s gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, although testy at times, they didn’t produce anywhere near the abrasiveness and disrespect that some other states witnessed.

Meanwhile, the campaigns for U.S. House seats in this part of Pennsyl­vania defied — in a good way — the bitter rhetoric that punctuated numerous campaigns across the country. That speaks to the quality of candidates on this state’s ballots.

It’s important to point out that this election’s ballot will be very small, compared with the number of decisions voters are asked to make during both rounds of balloting during a municipal election year.

It’s also small when compared with the ballots of May 15 — meaning that there are no grounds for staying away from the polls because of a perceived notion that voting will be too complicated and take too much time.

Every voter in central Pennsyl­vania, as well as in the rest of the commonwealth, will be asked to cast a vote for governor/lieutenant governor, U.S. senator and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

All voters will have the opportunity to help elect someone for the state House of Representatives and, in some parts of the state, a state senator also will be elected.

Yes, there is deep political division in this country, and indeed, some in this state, but the voters are one in their responsibility to perform their civic duty and strive to fill all seats up for election with the best candidates seeking their support.

That’s important, even if a sigh of relief is unavoidable.