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Study the candidates, then vote

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Oct 25, 2020

It is that time of year again. The end of October, fall harvest, Halloween and that means…Election Day will soon be here.

It is a big deal every year, especially every two years, but every four years it takes on an even larger importance.

As you can see from the sample ballots in the second section of this week’s Faribault County Register, there is a lot to vote for this year.

Of course the top one is the presidential race. Probably everyone knows about the big Donald Trump versus Joe Biden battle. But, did you know there are actually nine candidates listed, along with their nine running mates for vice president?

But let’s be honest. While it is definitely important to vote, that presidential race will be decided by the voters in the swing states. Minnesota might be one of those deciding swing states, but probably not.

There are many other local races where your vote will definitely be much more important. You will determine your local township or city council members, your mayor, school board members, and for residents of County Commissioner Districts 3 and 5, who will be on the County Board.

Some of those could be close, so every vote is going to count.

Same goes for local state legislative races, although this is pretty Republican territory. But the race for the U.S. First Congressional Seat has traditionally been tight, and I don’t see that being any different this year.

Voters have a pretty clear choice in that race. Jim Hagedorn is a very conservative Republican, Dan Feehan is a very liberal-oriented Democrat.

In this race, I just caution everyone to not believe everything you see in the negative ads about both candidates. Check the facts for yourself from reliable sources. And no, Aunt Martha, just because it’s on the Internet does not mean it is true. Believe it or not, people can put things on social media that are blatantly false.

Because you won’t find many places to check out who is running for the local city council or school board, the Register this week brings you some profiles of our local candidates. This year we have had quite a few folks ask us if we were going to do this for the local school board races in particular. That is not surprising as there are five people running for the three seats on the Blue Earth Area board, and six running for the three seats on the United South Central board.

We hope the second section this week is helpful. Of course, we do fully realize a lot of you have already voted. With more mail in voting going on than ever before, we will try to start having this voter’s guide come out earlier in future election periods.

You will note that not every candidate in every election in Faribault County is profiled. Due to space restrictions, we only did the contested races, where more people are running than the number of seats to be filled.

It is true that some of the races, say for two council seats, have newcomers running, and it would be nice to profile them as well. But, with so many races all over the county, it would have been prohibitive.

It is also true that in many small towns in Minnesota and elsewhere, many people already know the candidates. And if they don’t, they ask their neighbor who that person is that is running for the council or the school board.

At one point in time, earlier this year, I thought this special election section was hardly going to be needed. Remember? For the first part of the filing period, not many people filed for any of the open local offices. Then, at the end, lots of folks did.

So now, there are some decisions to make. Remember to be informed and vote. And maybe you already did that.

One more thing about the election. There is still another issue of the Register which will be coming out right before Election Day. This year we have been receiving a lot of letters to the editor, more than usual.

Our policy is that we will still print letters right up to the election, but not ones that might bring up a new issue, or that make any new assertions. The reason for that is there is no time for others to respond to those letters before the election.

One last election note. Please vote yes on the school excess levy referendum question. Sure, it will raise your property taxes some. But, it is needed to ensure keeping a strong school system in place.

It will have a larger direct impact on our local communities than say, who gets elected president.

If you already voted, then good for you. If you are still going to vote, then again, good for you.

If you don’t plan on voting, well, there is still time to change your mind and exercise that right.