The theme of our editorial on the day before an election has typically focused on the importance of voting.
Two years ago, we said this: “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.”
Four years ago, on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, we warned that long lines were to be expected and offered this advice: “If you are someone who believes in the sanctity of Election Day, we would say, have patience, stay calm and make sure you have the proper identification to present to poll workers.”
And in 2004 we noted that in the hotly contested race of 2000 — the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore that was decided by 537 votes in Florida — only 51.3 percent of the registered voters in the United State bothered to cast ballots for president. Yes, in an election that retains the power to galvanize 12 years later, just over half of the people who could have voted bothered to go to the polls.
So today, once again, we make a plea for every voter who has not yet voted to get to their polling place tomorrow between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Don’t be deterred
And this year, unfortunately, we must give one relatively new piece of advice to prospective voters: don’t let anyone deter you. Not a volunteer from such misnamed watchdog groups as “True the Vote” or the “Voter Integrity Project.” Not even Secretary of State Jon Husted, who despite losses in U.S. District and Appeals courts, continues to issue controversial directives. His latest instructs boards of elections to invalidate provisional ballots unless the voters correctly provide either the last four digits of their Social Security number or the full eight-digit Ohio drivers license number. That’s being challenged in court on grounds that Husted previously said election officials, not voters, should fill out the form.
History will record the various voter suppression efforts pursued by partisan politicians as yet another ugly backward step from a more inclusive democracy. We have evolved from a society that restricted voting to male freeholders to one that recognized that voting rights are not determined by wealth, race or gender. Any retreat by any state from that ideal imperils this nation’s claim as a beacon of democracy.
The Vindicator takes elections seriously. Among other things, we spend hours in endorsement meetings with candidates for local, state and federal office. And based on what we learn about the candidates, in those interviews and elsewhere, we issue endorsements.
These are recommendations based on our knowledge and perceptions, not to be taken as ex cathedra pronouncements. Each endorsement was issued as part of an explanatory editorial.
Here is a recap of our endorsements:
President: Barack Obama
U.S. Senate: Sherrod Brown
Ohio Supreme Court justices: Terrence O’Donnell, Robert R. Cupp, Yvette McGee Brown.
13th Congressional District: Tim Ryan
6th Congressional District: Charlie Wilson
Ohio General Assembly
32nd Senate: Capri S. Cafaro
59th House: Ronald V. Gerberry
63rd House: Sean J. O’Brien
64th House: Thomas B.J. Letson
Mahoning Commissioner: David C. Ditzler
7th District appellate court: Mary DeGenaro
Mahoning County court: Scott D. Hunter
Trumbull Commissioner: Daniel E. Polivka
Trumbull domestic/juvenile court: Richard L. James
11th District appellate court: Mary Jane Trapp
Trumbull County Court, Eastern District: Robert M. Platt Jr.
State Issue 1 to create a convention to revise, alter or amend the state constitution. Vote no.
State Issue 2 to create a citizen commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps. Vote yes.
We also recommended voting for renewals levies in Mahoning County to treat those with tuberculosis and related diseases; to fund Children Services and to continue Western Reserve Transit Authority service.
In Trumbull County we recommended renewal the levy supporting the Fairhaven program.
We also recommended a yes vote on all school renewal levies, including the one in Youngstown that is vital to continued local control of the school district.
Whether you believe your township or school district has made a strong case for a local levy 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.