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Municipal elections vital, too

Don’t be fooled into believing that today’s election is less important than those devoted to state and federal offices.

It cannot be emphasized too much that municipal elections like today’s definitely are as important, because they involve offices that are closest to the people.

Just like people take notice when their local tax bills increase, they also notice and react when a new local rule or ordinance affecting them is proposed or implemented — or when officials fail to address something that they deem important.

Likewise, there are those routine services upon which people depend, such as well-maintained streets, effective winter road maintenance and blight elimination.

It is local officials who oversee such things — officials who are elected during balloting such as today’s.

Not important enough races for which to visit one’s polling place today? Don’t fall victim to such a foolish notion.

Voter turnout today should significantly top 80 percent, not struggle to reach 50 percent.

There should be candidates on the ballots for all offices, although, unfortunately, today there are not. In some instances, there are not enough candidates for the number of seats up for grabs.

Voters who do not shirk their voting responsibility today will shape the course of county government for the next four years, electing three county commissioners from a field of two incumbents and two newcomers.

Candidates for county controller, treasurer and register of wills and recorder of deeds are unopposed, as is the county coroner.

In Altoona, Matt Pacifico, who was elected the city’s first full-time mayor four years ago under the new home rule charter, is being challenged by a former member of the city council, Mark Geis.

Two candidates for council seats are unopposed.

When voters go to the polls today, they should focus special attention on the number of positions available compared with the number of candidates listed. Voters never should hesitate to cast a write-in vote, especially when not enough candidates — or no candidates — are on the ballots for a particular office.

Here are a few instances where there are no candidates or not enough candidates from which to choose:

— In Bellwood, three four-year council seats are to be filled, but only one candidate is on the ballots — and there is no candidate for a two-year unexpired council term.

— In Duncansville, there are no candidates for mayor.

— In Martinsburg, there are two candidates for three four-year council seats.

— In Newry, there are no candidates for three four-year council seats, as well as none for a two-year unexpired term.

— In Williamsburg, there are two council candidates, while three seats are to be filled.

Stack those situations against the exciting scenario in the Hollidaysburg Area School District, where nine candidates are vying for five school board seats.

Although this is a municipal election, today is not without statewide decisions, including a ballot question dealing with crime victims’ rights, the election of two Superior Court judges and deciding whether two Superior Court and two Commonwealth Court judges should be retained.

An election meriting a ho-hum attitude? Not a chance.

No registered voter should ignore his or her duty to vote today.

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