It’S All About Who Shows Up

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The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

John F. Kennedy

Elections are decided mostly by how many people don’t bother to exercise that most precious right, obtained at such great price, over so many years.

That’s why in today’s Roundup, you’ll find our 24-page election guide, with profiles on every local race.

Make no mistake: This election counts.

Democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever

devised by man.

Ronald Reagan

Voters will pick a new sheriff, who must take on the great task of protecting citizens living in a vast sprawl of territory.

Voters will pick new county supervisors, who will make the crucial decisions on how the whole region grows — or falters.

Voters will pick U.S. Senate candidates, who must make vital decisions about the economy and the future of Social Security and Medicare.

Voters will pick congressional candidates, who will decide whether to end the dangerous financial and ideological deadlock that has crippled the economic recovery.

Voters will pick the officials who will set the property tax rate, determine the assessed value of their homes, provide access to vital records, balance the county’s budget.

And that’s just the primary. Once Tuesday’s primary sets the stage, we’ll head into the general election.

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of

government, except all the others that have been tried.

Winston Churchill

Voters then must pick among no fewer than nine Payson School Board candidates, who will have to cope with deepening budget woes and faltering schools.

Voters will also finally get to pick who serves on the Northern Gila County Sanitary District. Oh. You snicker. Does that sound boring? What if that obscure board holds the key to whether Rim Country’s paralyzed construction industry recovers — and whether the pristine streams we so love will become dangerously contaminated?

Elections matter, make no mistake.

And yet, even in general elections in a presidential year, only about half of the voters who could cast ballots bother to vote. In primaries and in non-election years, that percentage often falls to just one in three citizens of voting age. We brag often about being the Land of the Free and an experiment in Democracy and Liberty — but too many among us take that as the freedom to shrug and let someone else decide.

Lots of people say they refuse to vote for the lesser of evils. They say they don’t believe any of the candidates. So they stay home — and leave the business of picking our leaders to those who show up.

But we have great faith in the voters — and in our readers. So we’ve offered up our election special section, hoping to help you make this crucial decision.

Democracy is a

device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we

deserve.

George Bernard Shaw

What’s more, we’ll cover the races all the way through November — although we know that the chatter of politicians talking around the real problems and the hard choices often grates on the ear. We’ll also start an Election 2012 section on our Web site, so we can pull together in one place all our coverage of the candidates and the issues — and also provide our readers links to other sources of information as they struggle to fulfill their duty as citizens.

We hope that you’ll keep writing letters, offer us suggestions and tell us what you need to know in order to make the right decision.

If nothing else, you can look up your polling place and turn out next Tuesday secure in the knowledge that your vote counts double — maybe triple — because you showed up.

And when the stay-at-homes whine about the politicians and the policies they must live with, you don’t have to pay any attention at all — because they didn’t show up.

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