Editor, News Watchman,

Early voting began nearly a month ago. Many have cast their ballot locking in their vote before election day. This election, like every election, is very important. It’s not because the major news networks tell you it is, it is important because it is your fundamental right and it provides for your voice on freedom, liberty, and governing authority. Early polling being reported across various networks tell us that members of the Republican party are turning out in high numbers, however this midterm election is showing that a Democrat blue wave is happening. Independent voters are out in record numbers this election cycle and third-party candidates have filled the ballot. All this reporting and data points to one thing, it is important to fight apathy and go cast your ballot.

On your ballot, among the party line candidates you will find judicial candidates, local tax issues, and even a statewide issue. My ballot included six locally proposed taxes, four judicial positions, and Statewide Issue 1. Special attention should be given to any Statewide issue and all low-profile levies or races. Those low-profile ballot positions are often more important in the preservation of liberty or the preservation of your wallet. Refrain from being the voter that walks into the ballot booth and plunks recognizable names or affirmative votes because of a vague recollection of coffee shop banter. It is imperative that you understand that your vote means something, and it really counts. Your vote could decide whether a local initiative passes, or an official is elected. A campaign always wants their voter to turn out and the opposition to stay home. No matter what side you’re on express your view, right and privilege by voting.

There is not a perfect candidate for any office, only the candidate that aligns closely to ones’ beliefs or views. Take time to check a candidate’s platform or record and remember that a candidate is elected not only to serve but to govern with the set of beliefs he or she will bring to the elected position. When assessing local issues look at what the current impact of a law or service has on you and your community. The impact of funding and policy does affect services that you may want or need now as well as in the future. Ballot issues regarding safety, education, and law affect your quality of living which can enhance or detract from your way of life. Make your voice heard on these matters by casting a well informed ballot.

Your vote counts and especially when it comes to your local elections. Though the Federal and State government get majority of the blame in the media there are more than 89,500 local government jurisdictions across the nation that have some kind of fiscal, policy, or taxing authority. There have been many local elections that have been decided by just a few votes and some that have gone to a recount before being officially announced. Often this happens in the local arena of township trustees, municipal candidates or local issues. Make your voice heard, exercise your right, and fight apathy this election by voting. Take a few moments to research and inform yourself of what’s on your ballot. Sample ballots can be found on verified internet election sites or by contacting your local board of election. If I can manage to vote from an undisclosed location in Asia, then I hope you will take time to make your voice heard at home. Remember, you can vote early now, and election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jeremy Shaffer

Former Highland County Commissioner & Mayor

Currently Serving Abroad in the USAF

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