Every single election is important

Do not judge the importance of any election on the number of nominations or offices up for grabs.

Regarding the few offices for which nominees will be selected during today’s primary balloting, some voters might be tempted to “pass” on going to their polling place, but that would be a big mistake.

That is because today’s voting will begin the process of electing a new governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. senator.

Across the state, voters also will mark their preferences for congressional seats and state House and state Senate seats, as well as political party-related positions.

The General Election balloting on Nov. 8 will decide which of today’s successful candidates will actually serve.

For the Republican and Democratic parties, in Blair County and across the commonwealth, this primary election will be notably different, in terms of numbers of candidates from which to choose.

For Blair Republicans, who are able to boast about having 47,284 registered voters countywide compared with Democrats’ 20,519, GOP voters will have:

n Seven U.S. Senate candidates on their ballots compared with Democrats’ four.

n Nine gubernatorial hopefuls compared with Democrats’ one.

n Nine candidates for lieutenant governor compared with Democrats’ three.

n Candidates for the various state legislative offices while there are no Democrats seeking some of them, presumably because of the lopsided GOP registration advantage.

Some voters belonging to each of the major political parties might, for whatever reason, regard some of the numbers as less-than-desirable, but other voters of those parties might differ, offering convincing arguments as to why those opinions should not be considered important.

Nevertheless, the lack of candidates for some offices is cause for feeling troubled — that the situation projects an unflattering image of democracy and this nation in these politically troubled times.

Right or wrong, fair or unfair, some older voters criticize younger adults for allegedly having a lackadaisical attitude about exercising their voting right and responsibility.

Many such assessments are accurate, but the pace of life and responsibilities, plus so many distractions, also contribute to less-than-healthy voting numbers. However, as long as mail-in ballots are available, the “too busy to vote” or “too discouraged to vote” arguments remain suspect.

Since America’s beginning, voting has been an important factor in helping this nation function in an equal way — at least fairer and more equal than it would have functioned otherwise.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“The vote is precious. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it,” said the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who, like King, was a civil rights activist.

“All of us may have been created equal, but we’ll never actually be equal until we all vote,” said actor Leonardo DiCaprio. “So don’t wait.”

“Your voice will be heard,” said Eddie Vedder of the rock group Pearl Jam. “And speaking as a bit of a singer myself, I know that can be a pretty good feeling.”

Reflect on those words today as you come face to face with your responsibility to make your voice heard at the ballot box — regardless of the size of the ballot.


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