The end of campaign is near; all that remains is to vote

It has been a long and arduous campaign in Ohio for hundreds of candidates, the supporters and opponents of hundreds of tax issues and, most of all, the millions of residents who have been unable to avoid the pitches of those candidates — whether they are listening to the radio, watching TV or just driving down the street.

Post-election reports are likely to show unprecedented amounts of money spent for an off-year election. Books will be written on the effect of money in this year’s campaigns. New laws will be debated and court cases pursued in the interests of those who see this election as the buying of America and those who maintain that spending money — by whomever and for whomever — is a First Amendment right.

It’s all enough to make some voters run away and hide. That’s the last thing they should do.

A democracy can suffer through a lot, but it can’t survive if people don’t vote.

Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, a libertarian, a constitutionalist, an advocate for a greener world, a socialist or a true independent, there’s a candidate for you somewhere on the ballot. If you haven’t already availed yourself of the early voting alternatives, get to the polls Tuesday and vote your conscience.

In recent months, Vindicator editors have conducted interviews in the statewide races and selected local races, spending an hour or more with most of the candidates. And based on those interviews and other factors, we’ve made our endorsements. It’s a newspaper tradition of long-standing. It is not without its perils, but we view it as a serious responsibility.

We will list those recommendations again, but one thing should be clear. Casting your own thoughtful ballot is more important than following any particular recommendation, whether it comes from a newspaper, a political party, a celebrity, or a relative or friend.

A lot of voters are going to be celebrating Tuesday night and Wednesday morning — and if predictions of the closeness of some of the races is an indication, nearly as many people will be mournful. They are free to look eagerly toward what they see as a brighter future or to gripe about what they may believe is the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. The only ones who don’t deserve to be part of the post-election conversation are those who couldn’t be bothered to vote.

A recap

Here’s a recap of our endorsements, all of which have been explained in detail in editorials that ran in recent weeks:

Governor: Ted Strickland

Attorney General: Richard Cordray

Auditor of State: David Pepper

Treasurer of State: Kevin L. Boyce

Secretary of State: Jon Husted

Supreme Court Chief Justice: Maureen O’Connor

Supreme Court Justice: Judith Ann Lanzinger

U.S. Senate: Lee Fisher

17th District Congress: Tim Ryan

6th District Congress: Charlie Wilson

Mahoning County Commissioner: Carol Rimedio-Righetti

Trumbull County Commissioner: Frank Fuda

We have also urged support for levies in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties that support vital social institutions, such as schools and libraries, and that provide services for those most in need, such as boards of mental health and developmental disabilities and children services.

We fully understand that times are tough and that household budgets are increasingly hard to balance. But we also know that in the long run society suffers if we do not band together, even when it may be painful, to educate the next generation and to provide help for those coping with poverty, mental illness, disabilities, abuse and neglect.

Those things that make America great — the ability to vote and the willingness to invest in our future and in our fellow man — come together on Election Day. Don’t miss the chance to speak your mind and to make a difference.

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