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An Echo Press Editorial: Look for candidates who take the high road

By the Echo Press Editorial Board

EP Echo Press Editorial
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In the last midterm election in 2018, 18,168 residents in Douglas County took the time to cast a ballot.

It was a good turnout of 73.1%.

But we can do better.

Back in 2018, 6,670 registered voters in the county held off from voting. Why didn’t they exercise their precious right to elect leaders at the local, state and national level?

According to a 2020 Minnesota Public Radio story, a majority of respondents in a poll felt that voting has little impact on their lives, and that it won't change how the country is run.

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They don't generally, however, believe it is difficult to vote in the United States, the MPR story said. “Three-quarters say it is at least somewhat easy to cast a ballot. Instead, non-voters feel a sense of alienation and apathy; they are generally detached from the news and pessimistic about politics,” the story said.

Pessimistic about politics. You can’t hardly blame them for thinking that way considering the sharp divisions in the country. And that was a poll from two years ago. Judging from the nastiness of some of the current campaigns at the local, state and national level, those non-voter numbers are likely growing.

But instead of just throwing in the towel, all those frustrated, would-be voters should rise above the mud-slinging and change their frame of mind. They must remember that everyone has something on the ballot that’s worth voting for. They must come to the realization that they can make a difference. That voting matters. That making informed decisions can produce better leaders.

One strategy: Find out which candidates are spending more time criticizing their opponents instead of highlighting their own attributes. That’s a big red flag.

Other warning signs: Candidates who try to make local races partisan. Candidates who bring up issues that go way beyond the scope of the office they are seeking. Candidates who make inflammatory comments about their opponents.

In short, look for candidates who take the high road.

Early voting started back on Sept. 23. But there’s still time to vote and even time to change your mind.

For those who have already cast their vote, way to go. You’ve contributed to the process. Hopefully, you had good, informed reasons to support your decisions.

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For those who have not yet voted but still plan to do so, just remember to follow through and do your civic duty. Proudly wear that “I Voted” sticker and remind your family and friends to cast their votes.

For all those who are still mulling things over, don’t be like the 6,670 registered voters who opted out of the process in 2018. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to do a little research into the candidates and find out where they stand on the issues that are important to you. A good starting point is the Echo Press website. Click on “Election 2022” and read about the candidate forums, our Voter’s Guide, who will be on your ballot, common election questions and more.

Let’s make the most of the next 10 days before the election. Don’t let the ugliness of the election stop you from exercising one of our most precious rights. Vote.

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves. The only way they could do this is by not voting.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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