NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: We need to turn around dismal primary turnout

If you are a registered voter but have not yet voted today, this editorial is written to you.

Depending on when you read this, you may still have time to get to the polls, which are open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Please exercise your precious, constitutional right to cast your ballot for the candidates running for public office to serve you.

Today’s election is a primary, so you’ll only be selecting candidates in the party in which you choose to vote or for offices in your polling district that are nonpartisan.

Allen County has had a dismal record in recent primaries held in non-presidential election years. In 2014, only about 12 percent of those registered to vote in Allen County showed up at the polls. That was the year Indiana’s voter turnout in the general election was the lowest in the country with only 28 percent of registered voters casting ballots that November.

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to exercise your right to vote.

If you haven’t already voted today, make a plan now to get to the polls and at least cast votes for candidates and offices you know something about.

The only national candidates on the ballot today are those running for U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. But in Allen County, there are many significant offices to be filled that will affect your life much more directly, such as county commissioner, county council, township trustee and township board member. These are the people who make decisions that directly affect you where you live and work.

The board of three commissioners, for example, passes ordinances, receives bids for projects and services and signs contracts, has decision-making authority over planning and zoning in the county, and supervises construction and maintenance of 1,378 miles of county roads and nearly 400 bridge structures.

By far the largest single group of elected officials in Indiana, township trustees provide essential services to the residents and businesses of the township. The trustee system is designed to quickly meet the needs of the individual in an emergency.

Besides county commissioner races in District 2 and District 3, and many township trustee candidates, your particular ballot may include candidates for county council, auditor, recorder, assessor, sheriff, circuit court clerk, township board members and town council members.

Those living in the Northwest Allen County Schools district will vote on whether or not to approve a referendum that would allow the district to issue bonds to build a new elementary school, install safety upgrades at four schools and address some other safety and efficiency projects.

Winning candidates in their respective primaries will square off against each other in the general election on Nov. 6.

For more information on the election, such as polling sites, all the candidates and election results, go to allencounty.us/voter-registration.

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