NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL Take time to research and vote in municipal primaries

Early voting is underway for the May 7 municipal primaries. There are competitive races for Fort Wayne City Council in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Primaries often do not attract the same level of interest that general elections do. Yet this election will play a key role in determining who holds office on Fort Wayne’s council. Fort Wayne will select a mayor, a city clerk and four council members in the November municipal election. The primaries will determine who’s on the ballot for those seats.

In the Republican primary, City Councilman John Crawford is running for mayor against opponents Tim Smith and David Roach. There are five Republicans vying for three at-large seats on the council — incumbents Michael Barranda and Thomas Freistroffer as well as Nathan Hartman, Eric Tippmann and Joe Townsend. Taylor Vanover is the only Republican seeking the District 5 seat on the council, while incumbent Lana Keesling is the only Republican running for city clerk.

In the Democratic primary, incumbent Mayor Tom Henry faces Gina Burgess and Tommy Schrader. There are five Democrats running for the three at-large seats on the council — incumbent 6th District Councilman Glynn Hines, Maryclare Akers, Michelle Chambers, Steve Corona and Curtis Nash. Katie Zuber is running unopposed in the primary for city clerk and incumbent Geoff Paddock is running unopposed in the primary for the District 5 seat on the council.

In Indiana, primaries are open, meaning voters can declare their affiliation when they cast their ballot and vote in either primary. Those who were not registered to vote by Monday cannot vote in the municipal primaries. We certainly hope as many voters as possible participate in the primary elections. The greater the turnout, the more likely the party candidates for the November general election will reflect the will of residents.

But as much as voting is a civic duty, so too is becoming informed before casting a ballot. There are a number of ways to do this ahead of the primaries. Most of the candidates for office have individual websites for their campaigns. A quick Google search on their names and Fort Wayne will generate campaign websites as well as media profiles.

The Allen County Elections office website — www.allencountyvoters.info — provides a wealth of information on the municipal elections, including sample ballots for each district. And the Journal-Gazette is publishing primary endorsements this week. They can be found at http://journalgazette.net/Opinion/Endorsements

Early voting in the primaries is available at Rousseau Centre from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, and Saturday May 4. On May 1 to May 4, early voting will be available at Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech Community College, Fort Wayne Public Safety Academy and Salomon Farm Park.

Early voting in person ends at noon on May 6.

“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate,” Thomas Jefferson famously said.

Resolve to participate in this year’s primaries, not only by voting but also by researching the candidates before you do.