Our Views: On Tuesday, do your civic duty and get to the polls

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Results of each spring election amaze us.

The turnout often is pitiful. Americans go to the polls in droves to elect a president and their governors, seeing such decisions as their civic duties.

Yet when large numbers of votes are in play, each person going to the polls makes less difference. The chance of your vote holding sway is about as good as your odds of winning a lottery.

Spring elections, however, are when we choose leaders closest to us. They're the city, village and town officials who decide how and when our roads get repaired, how our trash gets collected and where to put that new fire station.

Spring also is when we choose school board members who decide how many kids should be in each classroom, whether kids should get books or tablets and when it's time to build, expand or close a school.

Because the numbers of voters in such elections are lower, odds are greater one vote could be the difference between two candidates.

On Tuesday, voters will choose a circuit court judge in both Rock and Walworth counties. Voters statewide will decide whether Ann Walsh Bradley gets a third 10-year term on the state Supreme Court or whether to replace her with Rock County Judge James Daley. A referendum proposes changing the state constitution so the chief justice isn't automatically the person on our high court with the most seniority but is chosen every two years by his or her peers.

Despite these crucial decisions, the wide majority of state and local residents will sit out Tuesday's voting. What a shame. Thousands of American soldiers fought and died to protect our right to vote in this representative democracy. Sitting out any election does not honor their sacrifices.

Maybe you haven't taken time to study the candidates. If not, review the adjacent list of the Gazette editorial board's endorsements. As we stated Sunday, the most important local decision may well be in the Janesville School Board race, where just two names appear on the ballot but three people will be elected. Three other residents have registered as official write-in candidates. In our minds, two of the three write-ins deserve election because Carla Quirk, one of the two on the ballot, is unqualified. Do not sit out this race and let special interests hand pick candidates most likely to favor their desires rather than the overall good of the district and taxpayers.

You don't need to take our editorial board's word for it. The Gazette printed a special election section filled with objective reports last Wednesday. Those and other election-related stories are available at gazettextra.com/elections. More election-related information is available at Forward Janesville's website.

Yes, life is busy. It seems more hectic with each passing week, month and year. But voting should not be an option on your to-do list. Instead, make it a priority.

Get to the polls Tuesday.

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