Early voting has ended in the state’s primary election. The hundreds of thousands of registered voters who have not yet cast a ballot have a final, traditional opportunity to do so — by going to their neighborhood polling station Tuesday.
Most citizens are preoccupied with the presidential race, which will top November’s ballot.
The majority of primary contests, involving a handful of lawyers competing for a few judicial offices, with perhaps a School Board or legislative race mixed in, well … they just don’t seem as important. And familiarizing oneself with the candidates and issues requires initiative.
Many voters will take a pass and gear up for the fall.
In fact, Tuesday’s primary presents voters with many important opportunities to improve the governance of Clark County. In particular, three incumbent judges — Family Court Judge Nicholas Del Vecchio, District Judge Jessie Walsh and District Judge Elizabeth Halverson — have performed or behaved so poorly they warrant replacement. A vote for any of these three is a vote for poor judicial standards and compromised justice. Instead, voters should support Vincent Ochoa, William Kephart and Jason Landess in those contests.
And a few incumbents who will appear on the primary ballot — Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury and School Board Trustees Mary Beth Scow and Ruth Johnson among them — have been ruled ineligible for re-election because of term limits. A vote for them is a vote wasted.
The combination of lower-profile contests and low voter turnout magnifies the importance of every ballot cast. Punching the button for a familiar name or the person who stuffed your mailbox with the most fliers is no way to select a government.
Educate yourself before heading to your precinct. The Review-Journal published a Primary Election Voters Guide on July 27. If you threw it away or never came across it, its content is available at www.reviewjournal.com at no charge. Search out candidate Web sites, as well.
And if when you’re navigating the voting machine Tuesday, you realize that you overlooked a particular office and know nothing about its candidates, it’s perfectly acceptable to go onto the next race without casting a vote.
Don’t cancel out an informed, researched vote with one cast at random.