Election 2014: Don’t just sit on the sidelines

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — If the primary season has slipped up on you, you are not alone.

Even in presidential election years, voting participation has been on a downward trend over the past several decades. But “off-year” elections lack the national hoopla to draw attention to primary races, and the turnout typically suffers.

In West Virginia’s last off-year primary, May 2010, the turnout was about 24 percent of registered voters and 20 percent of the voting age population. That November about 44 percent of registered voters went to the polls, compared to close to 60 percent in a presidential election.

But the races are no less important, and we urge citizens to brush up on the candidates and issues and get ready to cast their ballot in the coming weeks.

Early voting already is underway in Ohio for the primaries on May 6, and it begins in West Virginia on Wednesday for the primary on May 13. In Kentucky, the primaries are May 20. A complete list of the races for local counties and all three states is available at www.herald-dispatch.com under Elections 2014.

Those registered by party can participate in the Democratic or Republican decisions, and independent voters in West Virginia also can choose to vote in one partisan primary. Beyond that there also are non-partisan school board elections in most West Virginia counties, and important ballot issues to be decided in Ohio and West Virginia, as well.

So why do so many potential voters fail to go to polls…

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