Voters get the last word

In the past few weeks, it seemed that most of what we saw and read about today's election was negative, scurrilous and, if nothing else, designed to drive us away from the polls.

The news media are partly to blame. In the final days of any campaign, we tend to dwell on the attacks and counterattacks, the horse-race aspects of the election contests, and lose sight of the issues on which we want the voters to make their choices.

Mostly, though, the blame must fall on politicians who resort to attack advertising down the home stretch in the belief it will make a difference at the polls -- in the belief that winning the election is not just the main thing but the only thing.

The truth of the matter, however, is that most candidates have throughout the last several months run clean and issues-oriented campaigns. When we stop to consider it, we can name 10 candidates whose hands are clean today for every one who has decided to sling some mud.

This is especially true on the local level, where civility still rules the day. Maybe it's because the stakes aren't so high -- the offices are generally low- or no-pay, the people seeking them are doing so out of a genuine sense of community responsibility and, most of all, they have priorities that lie beyond winning a campaign.

In other words, these are candidates who value their personal reputations and the dignity of the office over their political careers.

The best response by residents, of course, is to vote today.

Don't be discouraged by the antics of a few. Vote for those who have shown themselves worthy of support and who have demonstrated the ability to be leaders.

If in a couple of statewide races this is not possible, then you have the option of "none of these candidates." But staying home means nothing. Get out and vote, because you will find many candidates on your ballot who deserve such modest effort.


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