One of the best things about living in a democracy is that every six months, we, the citizens, get the opportunity to voice our opinions and choose the leaders who will make the decisions that affect our country and communities.
Pennsylvania’s general election on Nov. 7 is rapidly approaching, and Tuesday is the last day to register to vote.
Local voters in the upcoming election will get the opportunity to choose judges for district courts and the Court of Common Pleas, township supervisors, borough council members and mayors, and school board representatives for all the county’s school districts. On the statewide level, voters will choose between candidates vying for spots on the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts. Also on the ballot will be referendums on the state property tax amendment, and whether or not to reduce the size of the legislature.
This November’s election may not have as much media hype as last year’s presidential election, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important. We, the voters, will be choosing the people making decisions that will directly affect our communities and our children’s school districts, and those administering justice in Centre County and the state.
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If you care about having a say in our local townships and boroughs, please register today. You can register online at http://centrecountypa.gov/index.aspx?NID=711, or by going to your local post office, picking up a registration form and putting it directly in the mail.
But registering to vote is only part of the equation. After getting registered, it is the responsibility of the voters to educate themselves about the candidates and their positions on the important issues facing their communities. Fortunately, there are a lot of upcoming opportunities to do so.
The Centre County League of Women Voters will be giving voters the chance to directly ask questions of the candidates at its two Candidates’ Nights, Oct. 12 and 18, at 7 p.m. in Room 304 of the State College Municipal Building. The Candidates’ Nights will also air, at later dates, on C-Net, channel 7. The local access TV network will also air its candidate interviews from Oct. 30-Nov. 5, and they will be made available online at http://cnet1.org by Oct. 16.
The Centre Daily Times is participating as a sponsor in a debate, hosted by Penn State’s The Daily Collegian, between State College mayoral candidates Donald Hahn, Ron Madrid and Michael Black from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 17 at The State Theatre. Community members are encouraged to submit debate questions for consideration at email@example.com. And, as always, the Centre Daily Times, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, will publish on Oct. 29 its semi-annual voters’ guide, detailing all local and statewide races.
Once you’ve been informed, the last piece of the equation is to actually go out and vote on Nov. 7. Only 22 percent of registered voters in Centre County voted in the spring. To find your poling place, visit the county’s Elections and Voter Registration website at http://centrecountypa.gov/index.aspx?NID=244, or call 355-6703.
Democracy works best when we all participate.
To share your thoughts on the democratic process and why you vote, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.