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Believe it or not, general election is upon us

Somehow, summer is just about over, the leaves are about to begin turning colors and soon we’ll be sleeping with the windows open. On top of that, Americans already are prepping to head to the polls.

We all know how quickly election season hits us. Heck, I’m already hearing from confused friends who think there is a U.S. Senate race involving Tim Ryan this November. No, I explain, that’s next November — and Ryan, our local congressman from Howland, will be in that Senate race only if he defeats his one (so far) Democratic opponent Morgan Harper, a progressive from Columbus who supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. I go on to explain the Democratic nominee will face one of several Republicans seeking their party’s nomination and possibly others who might enter the race by then as independents or members of other parties.

I’m certain the confusion stems from the fact that we’ve already been reading stories about candidates throwing their hats into that ring, and we’ve been seeing candidates campaigning in our Valley for that big Senate race and hearing lots of talk about competition in both major political parties for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who says he’s had enough of politics. That’s too bad. I genuinely like Portman because he’s smart, classy and he generally votes for what he sees as right, not just along party lines. Plus, he’s been a lot of fun to watch as a candidate because he’s been virtually untouchable at the polls every time he’s on the ballot.

But I digress.

As I was saying, somehow it’s gotten to be this year’s election season. The Nov. 2 General Election will be much more of a grassroots competition than what I expect for next year’s U.S. Senate race.

Rather, this is the typical “off-year” election when there are contested local races for what seems like every single seat on township trustee boards, boards of education, some city councils, mayors, city treasurers or auditors, and even some township fiscal officers.

It’s a lot for the media that’s charged with covering it all — not to mention for voters who want to be educated on their choices. Many of the dozens and dozens of candidates already are answering invitations in some of the races to visit with our newspaper’s editorial board during our endorsement process.

We take this task seriously. We spend time with many candidates in some of the more hotly contested races, hearing what they have to say about why they should be elected. We ask hard questions about controversial issues surrounding their communities and about the priorities they list on written questionnaires. Also, we review previous news stories about the candidates or, if a candidate is an incumbent, about their past time in office.

While we simply can’t endorse in every race, we try our best to offer some insight on the candidates in many of the contested races. We’ll write stories about some of the contested races. Certainly, we’ll cover various candidate nights or debates as a service to voters who are unable to attend.

At the very least, we’ll be publishing lists and boxes of the contested local races, issues and liquor options as early voting and Election Day approach.

In some races, we’ll publish editorials offering our endorsement for various candidates, and undoubtedly, readers will be writing letters to the editor about why they like or dislike particular candidates. Additionally, many candidates likely will share their pledges and qualifications in paid advertisements on these pages. All this information is excellent when it comes to educating yourself before heading to the polls.

The fact is, if you want information about grass-roots elections like the one that’s fast approaching, this newspaper will be the best place to get it.

We’ll do our best to share all that we know. That’s because we care about fairness and accuracy when it comes to election coverage — and all our news coverage.

blinert@tribtoday.com

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