EDITORIAL | Cast a ballot, express yourself

A lot of people have mailed in their ballots for the Nov. 6 election but many still have not. As of this week, only about 40 percent of the Island County ballots mailed out in the middle of October have been returned to the Auditor’s Office.

There are only two work days left to mail in a ballot, and on Tuesday, Nov. 6, make sure it’s postmarked that day or your vote won’t count. As they say, if you don’t vote you can’t complain.

On South Whidbey, important issues are at play. Will South Whidbey Fire/EMS receive the levy increase it needs to operate at the present service level? Will District 1 Commissioner Helen Price Johnson be given a second term in office, or will Jeff Lauderdale take over? A lot has happened economically and politically over the past four years, and how the next four years goes on Whidbey is largely up to voters. If Price Johnson is retained, it will suggest voters feel she’s worked hard. If her Democratic cohort from District 2, Angie Homola, beats challenger Jill Johnson, who like Lauderdale is a Republican, it will be an even more resounding vote of confidence that the incumbents have done well in tough times. If the Republican challengers win, it’ll mean the incumbents didn’t quite measure up and voters want change.

Beyond Whidbey’s special circumstances, issues are plentiful and incredibly important. Obama or Romney? Inslee or McKenna? Cantwell or Baumgartner? Haugen or Bailey? The differences between the two major parties has seldom been greater, so this year it’s particularly important which individuals win. No party is sure to hold its majority at either the state or national level.

Washington voters will also face a host of ballot measures that could result in measure changes. Should charter schools be allowed? Should marijuana be legalized? Should same sex marriage be approved? Do voters still want to require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature before taxes can be raised? All these and more are important issues, and some are very emotional. Again, only people who vote will have a say in the results.

Whatever your political preferences or your stand on any particular issue, it won’t make any difference if you don’t vote. Be a participant in democracy, not just a bystander, otherwise the system won’t work as designed. Send in your ballot and help make sure only the best men, women and ideas win.

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