Some are more exciting than others, but all elections deserve attention of voters

At a time when America is attempting to spread the word throughout the world that democracy works, it is scandalous how few Americans participate in the most elementary democratic act: voting.
A story in yesterday's Vindicator reported that Mahoning County elections officials expect a turnout between 22 percent and 23 percent. In Columbiana County, the anticipated percentage is 28 percent to 29 percent and in Trumbull County officials expect between 28 percent and 35 percent, depending on which election official you ask.
Granted, these are primary elections in an off-year, and in many cities and villages there are few or no races. But both Mahoning and Columbiana counties have countywide issues on the ballot, which should inspire some voter interest.
Much of the anticipated stronger turnout in Trumbull County will likely come in Girard, where there is a lively race for the Democratic nomination for mayor and a tax issue that would allow the district to tap into state funds to build a new high school.
Voters in five of Youngstown's seven wards have good reason to go to the polls. They will decide races for the Democratic nomination for council seats.
And, still, it will be considered a major accomplishment if even a third of any county's voters bothers to go the polls, and turnout more likely will be in the neighborhood of a quarter.
For several weeks in April, Vindicator editors spent three or four afternoons each week meeting with candidates in a number of races in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Based on those interviews, the newspaper has run its endorsement editorials in recent weeks, and a recap follows below.
In publishing these endorsements, we do not presume to tell voters how to vote and we do not claim that any endorsement is beyond challenge. Candidates who did not make themselves available for interviews were ineligible for endorsement.
However, we do have the advantage of being able to sit with the candidates in a relatively small group, and talk about some of the important issues in the races. We've shared the reasons for our endorsement in the editorials we published and invite voters to agree or disagree with our assessments when they cast their votes.
The important thing, however, is to vote.
Mahoning County
1st Ward: Annie L. Gillam
2nd Ward: Jacqueline Adair
5th Ward: Paul Drennan
6th Ward: Paul D. Pancoe
7th Ward: Mark S. Memmer
Mayor: Daniel C. Mamula
Council at-large: Jerry L. Shields, Daniel R. Yemma, Michael S. Patrick.
Trumbull County
Council at-large: Reggie Giancola, Michael Lastic, Stephen G. Papalas
Mayor: James J. Melfi
Council at-large: Douglas L. Rohrer
We strongly recommend that voters renew Mahoning County's half-percent sales tax as a continuing tax. This will not increase the sales tax rate in the county and represents the minimum that the county needs to continue to provide vital services to the residents, especially in the area of criminal justice.
We also recommend renewal of the 2-mill, 5-year renewal levy for the county Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Again, this vote will not increase taxes and will allow the continuation of educational and life-skills services to children and adults who face the challenges of retardation and other disabilities.
We've also recommended approval of school issues appearing on Tuesday's ballot, reflecting our belief that education is one of the best investments a community can make.

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