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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

Local candidates deserve voters' time

Sunday, July 30, 2006

If you haven't been paying attention, there's an election right around the corner. I'm less concerned about the state and federal offices up for grabs because, let's be honest, those races will be decided in November. Granted, there are primary opponents and someone will win and someone will lose next month, but the real action comes in November.

But closer to home, the meat and potatoes are on the table in August. Presiding Commissioner of Scott County and the Associate Circuit Judge race here are both heated affairs with passionately divided camps. And one thing can be said - the local candidates have worked tirelessly to get their messages to the public. That is the backbone of local politics.

Despite all of the hype, however, voter turnout will still be much less than it should be. Why registered voters don't take the time to vote is beyond my imagination. I could understand not making the effort if there were no contested races. We've had many of those primary elections in the past. But that's not the case this year.

Republicans - and yes, I could put myself proudly in that party affiliation - will face the same dilemma that we often do in Scott county primary elections. If we want a voice in county politics, we are "forced" to ask for a Democrat primary ballot. And in truth, it makes more sense to pick up that Democratic ballot and have a voice in the local political scene than it does to cast a ballot for a GOP Auditor candidate and ignore those offices so much closer to home. It's a bit of an odd system but it's the best system.

Let's face it - many voters have great passion and emotion about these county races. And without getting into dirty laundry background, some people are motivated for or against a candidate for reasons that don't truly belong in the political process. But to remove that personal passion would be to change the face of politics itself. It just will not happen.

I have always said that we should commend all of those who seek office. That doesn't mean they will earn our vote. But they deserve our respect and admiration. It is a difficult task to campaign day and night in the heat of the summer knowing that countless handshakes will reap no rewards other than personal satisfaction. It would truly be numbing to spend the hours knocking on doors also knowing that half of those you contact will vote against you. Or that half will not take the time to vote at all.

And yet these candidates perhaps hear a higher voice that drives them to public service. None of these positions will make anyone wealthy. The rewards are often hours and hours of confrontation and disagreement. And in the end, many make more enemies than friends. Thus is the nature of the political arena.

At the very least, these local candidates deserve you to take the time to vote. They would hope that you cast that vote in their favor. But regardless, the freedom to vote is far too important to ignore simply because you have but a passing interest in the races to be decided.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen