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Time to let the voting begin

Early voting for the election starts Tuesday in Ohio, and, based on my conversations with local election officials, it’s going to be the way at least half of the voters cast ballots.

There’s still two more presidential debates and a vice presidential one, though you can vote before you see any of those. After watching the first presidential debate and how it quickly degenerated, how many of us want to view another one or two?

Regarding the debate, the two most interesting perspectives I heard were from Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairwoman Joyce Kale-Pesta and Trumbull County Republican Party Chairman Kevin Wyndham.

Kale-Pesta said: “I’m sure the Trump people are cheering because that’s the guy they voted for. I am much more concerned about his rant against the voting process. Must be tough on the secretary of state (Republican Frank LaRose). I think Biden did OK against what he was up against. No one won. Trump is a bully.”

Wyndham said: “One can’t fault Trump (for) his inability to maintain his patience to tolerate the constant attacks, misrepresentations and misinformation that he has endured the last four years. It is impossible to summarize or explain details of many issues of which the general public is not adequately informed or educated. That makes two-minute answers almost damning to either candidate.”

He added: “Unfortunately, I think the debate failed to convince any undecided voters and probably only entrenched the 92 percent that say they have already decided.”

Candidates and surrogates will continue campaigning in the coming weeks on a much more limited basis than in previous years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans are making more in-person appearances than Democrats and expect that trend to continue.

Mahoning Valley election officials predict strong turnout.

The questions that remain are: Will every mail-in vote arrive at boards of elections in time, how many will be thrown out and for what reasons, and will the candidates — President Donald Trump to be more precise — accept the outcome?

For the sake of the country, it’s best if this election is a landslide though there’s not an indication that’s going to happen.

As for the few remaining undecideds, I don’t think it’s because they’re wrestling with a choice between Biden and Trump. Many are figuring out whether they’ll vote at all.

I understand why some don’t have strong feelings about Biden. I know several Democrats, including top local ones, who aren’t excited about Biden. He’s not a dynamic personality.

But he’s the party’s safest choice and an overwhelming majority of those who backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary are going to vote for Biden. That wasn’t necessarily the case in 2016 when Democrat Hillary Clinton was unable to bring enough of Sanders’ supporters together.

After Tuesday’s debate, Biden campaigned in Cleveland and Alliance. It could be the last we see of him in Northeast Ohio. If he doesn’t make a stop in the Mahoning Valley, he’d be the first Democratic presidential candidate to skip this area in several decades.

If you don’t have an opinion of Trump by now are you going to have one in the next few weeks? We’ve had nearly four years of his presidency and when people look back on this time after we’re all long gone, Trump will be considered the most memorable president since Abraham Lincoln.

Because of the pandemic, more people than ever will vote by mail.

Ballots will start to be sent to those who’ve requested them starting Tuesday. That’s also the first day for in-person early voting.

To those voting by mail, don’t wait to return your completed ballot.

Also, don’t ignore the down ticket races and issues — as many of those have more of an impact on your daily life than who the president is — and make sure you follow the instructions when you mail it back with the correct postage or deliver it to the dropbox outside your county board of elections.

Skolnick covers politics for the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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