Every election is important, and everyone’s vote counts

Of all the things Americans take for granted — and there are many — one of the most shocking continues to be the right to vote.

Voting in the United States is not a privilege. It is not a promise. For anyone who takes a few minutes to register, it is a right.

This past year has seen people die for the cause of democracy in the streets in the Middle East and Africa. They are dying today in Syria.

Make no mistake, the replacement of autocratic or even dictatorial regimes in some countries with democratic governance will not always reflect the preferences of American foreign policy. And in some nations, what passes for democracy is a sham, with the party in power limiting or even eliminating opposition before election day.

But those are aberrations. They don’t negate the basic truth that choosing leaders through the elective process may not be perfect, but it beats the next best thing by a mile.

Here in the United States we have become so complacent that only a fraction of our citizens bother to register. Only a fraction of those who register bother to vote.

This Tuesday, we are called once again to the polls in Ohio. This is not exactly a barn burner. There are no countywide issues on the ballot in Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana counties. Many of the partisan races are not races at all — they’re uncontested or the incumbents face only token opposition.

But there are some exceptions. There are hotly contested races in Mahoning County for one of the two commissioner’s seats and for prosecutor and sheriff. In Trumbull County there are two races worth watching, those for sheriff and for the 64th Ohio House seat.

And while nationally, all eyes will be on Ohio on Super Tuesday because of its implications for the front runners in the GOP presidential race, until today the candidates have ignored the Mahoning Valley. Mitt Romney will be the first of the candidates to visit here when he holds a town-hall forum at the Salt Springs Industrial Park. Until that appearance, the closest any of the front four had come to us was Rick Santorum’s visit to Steubenville.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Vindicator editors met with candidates in several local races and issued endorsements based on those interviews. Our rationale in each case was laid out in endorsement editorials that ran in this space.

Today we list those endorsements:

Congress, 6th District

Democrat: Charlie Wilson

Republican: Bill Johnson

Mahoning County

Commissioner (1/2/13 term): Anthony Traficanti

Commissioner (1/3/13 term): Walter Pishkur

Prosecutor: Paul Gains

Sheriff: Jerry Greene

Trumbull county

Sheriff: Thomas L. Altiere

64th Ohio House

Democrat: Tom Letson

Republican: Randy Law

Taxing decisions

We also urge everyone living in areas where there are tax issues on the ballot to get to the polls. Whether you believe your township or school district is a careful steward of your tax dollars and has made a strong case for renewal or additional funding, or whether you believe cuts should or must be made, you have no valid complaint over the outcome if you don’t bother to vote.

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