The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

April 27, 2014

Get out and vote

We would be better off politically if more people participated

Early voting for the May 13 Primary Election begins Wednesday. West Virginians will decide on candidates from positions ranging from nonpartisan boards to county commission to state House and Senate seats, and to U.S. House and Senate seats.

Last week, turnout and interest were both high at Meet the Candidate events in Fayette and Raleigh counties.

We heard thoughtful answers, and long answers, along with no answers and evasions.

Pretty typical, we’d say.

Although 2014 isn’t a presidential year, which brings out more voters because of the higher profile of a White House race, it is just as important to West Virginia for everybody who can, to cast their ballot in this primary election.

Raleigh County, for example, has around 53,000 voters.

In the last election, for the school levy and a $39.5 million bond call, just 6,251 of those voters managed to get to the polls. That’s a rather dismal 11.9 percent turnout.

The ongoing levy passed, but the school bond issue failed.

We applaud those voters who were dedicated enough to vote in that election. But we also believe we would be better off politically if these decisions were made by more than just one out of about every eight registered voters.

At the Meet the Candidate events we saw the usual array of potential elected officials, from the experienced to the novices, from the thoughtful to the less well-prepared.

But on the whole, we were impressed by the candidates. They showed passion for our communities and real concern about where we are headed.

Some, of course, are in it mostly for themselves. But most of them appear to be in it for something else altogether.

They want a better West Virginia, a better county, and better schools and a better nation. And to do that, they’re willing to make their own personal sacrifices in order to contribute to that goal.

Yet they are only part of the equation when it comes to democracy in West Virginia — or in America for that matter.

The other part consists of the rest of us, the voters.

So cast your ballot sometime between Wednesday and May 13.

Democracy, and our future, depend on it.

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