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Vote, but not too early

Granted, this year’s general election has little of the excitement of an election in a presidential year, but with all the brouhaha about mid-term changes in Washington D.C., with heated races at the state and local levels, controversial proposed amendments to the state Constitution, a controversial statewide ballot proposition, and local tax-related issues, things are interesting, and important.

The first task, as always, is to ensure local voters are registered.

Then, there is the matter of registered voters casting their ballots. We can count on a certain segment of the population turning out on Election Day — those who heed the call regularly. However, many of our fellow residents are not quite as diligent. It is imperative for everyone to participate, in particular younger voters. We have said it many times before: Decisions are made now that will profoundly affect the lives of those who are young, just starting families, just completing educations and trying to find their way into the job market, wanting to buy that first home, seeking to live prosperous and rewarding lives in the future. If you want a say in the way things will be, you need to speak with your vote, now.

The last day to register to vote in the general election is drawing close. You have only until 4 p.m. next Monday, Oct. 4, to go to the Archuleta County Clerk’s office and register. Wait longer, and you are out of the mix. Decisions will be made for you.

Then, to speak clearly with our votes, we must be informed about candidates and issues.

As the trend moves more and more to radically partisan rhetoric, as people seek comfort in the reinforcement of ideas they already hold, the ability to make clear decisions weakens. A political environment has been created that centers on the notion that anyone with an opposing idea is an enemy — not a fellow American whose ideas, like yours, must be tested in a reasoned way, accepted or discarded in part or in whole as the process moves forward. Opposing ideas are necessary elements in the foundation of a viable democracy, and we are in danger of losing that foundation.

As a result, we need to dispassionately analyze upcoming candidate races and issues, and that requires time.

Thus, in a sense, early voting can be a problem.

Early voting and mail-in voting has become popular, with many voters casting ballots considerably ahead of Election Day.

This year, the general election is on Nov. 2. Absentee (mail-in) ballots will be sent out Oct. 12. Early voting at the courthouse begins Oct. 18 and ends Oct. 29.

A considerable number of local voters are likely to cast ballots nearly two weeks ahead of Election Day.

There will be information available to these early voters — local TABOR notices and the election Blue Book should be out on Oct. 1. The SUN will print election-related interviews and articles this week and throughout October, and the League of Women Voters has forums planned for Oct. 13 and 19.

If you vote early, what might you might miss? Is there additional information and analysis coming before Nov. 2 from which you might benefit?

We urge everyone who can do so to delay voting until the official general election date, or at least until the last few days of early voting.

Get as much information as you can this election season and review it absent the poisonous, partisan lens that colors much of our political discourse. It is important for voters to do all they can to take back our political system, and a carefully calculated, timely vote is a key part of the effort.

Karl Isberg