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How quickly things change — and stay same

Didn’t we just do this?

Things circle around increasingly fast these days, but this year’s Easter celebration should be quite a bit different than the one we experienced last year. That was when most of us probably either watched our priests or ministers deliver their messages via Facebook Live or even celebrated Christ’s resurrection in our cars facing a drive-up pulpit.

If you’re like my family, you probably ate your ham and scalloped potatoes in a small family gathering, away from the usual hub-bub of big springtime get-togethers.

I recall the utter shock when we found out my son’s varsity baseball team’s annual trip to a Myrtle Beach tournament was canceled. Little did we know how big this would get and how long it would last.

Sadly, this year’s Myrtle beach baseball trip is canceled again — his last chance as a high school player.

At least today, though, most of us have an opportunity to attend an in-person church service — and I hope those who are able will take full advantage.

If nothing else, this last year should have made us all appreciate the blessings and opportunities we have to move about without restrictions!

But I digress.

My opening question actually was about election season.

Yep, as is evidenced by our political writer David Skolnick’s story on today’s front page, today is not only Easter, but somehow early voting begins Tuesday for Ohio’s upcoming primary election.

Now, it’s only a matter of time until campaign signs start popping up near the intersections and, if COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, candidates might just start knocking on your front door again as if this were some normal election season.

As David tells us in his story today, along with early voting starting Tuesday, local boards of elections can start processing votes by mail that day, too.

Indeed, the pandemic has made the last two elections — the 2020 primary and the 2020 general election — very strange.

I recall sitting on my living room couch the night before the primary election was supposed to happen monitoring by laptop the ever-changing developments as Gov. Mike DeWine and then-Ohio Health Director Amy Acton fought to postpone the election just hours before poll workers would have started reporting to polling places.

Eventually, we all voted only by mail in that crazy primary election. Of course, by November, we were masked, socially distanced and lathered up in hand sanitizer as many of us voted in person.

In my business, this is also the time when candidates normally would be invited to visit with our editorial board for in-person meetings that help us gauge our political endorsements.

Last year and this year, we instituted new ways of doing that, mostly by zoom video conferencing or, in some cases, by teleconference. Technology has made these “in-person” interviews very convenient and safe for all involved. At least one candidate, who shall remain nameless, has already confided that he is recuperating from COVID-19, but was still able to meet with us online — a process that could never have happened without the wonders of modern technology.

As always, I urge all voters to be educated on their candidates. This year’s election covers municipal races, including city and village councils and some mayoral races. Unfortunately, local election experts are predicting low voter turnout, but that’s not because the races are unimportant. In fact, I’d argue these races are among the most important because we’ll be electing the people who will make decisions on spending local taxes, paving our streets and hiring police and fire fighters. How does it get more important than that?

To help you make good, informed decisions, we will be carrying stories in the coming weeks about the contested races in cities like Warren, Youngstown, Niles, Hubbard and others.

We also will share on our opinion page our newspaper’s candidate endorsements in some of the larger or more hotly contested races.

All this information will be provided in plenty of time for you to vote by the May 4 election.

Get ready to vote.

And Happy Easter.

blinert@tribtoday.com

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