Editorial:

From top to bottom, ballot has key races

Posted

Ask someone for their thoughts about the upcoming midterm election, and you might hear something about making America great or, conversely, about wanting to create a “blue wave.”

To hear some pundits tell it, next week’s election largely comes down to a handful of toss-up states. (Spoiler: Wyoming isn’t one of them.)

But as Powell area voters head to the polls, there is plenty at stake — and many races that only local voters will decide.

City of Powell residents, for instance, are being asked to weigh in on 40 different government positions and to consider 57 different people for those posts.

At the top of the general election ballot, voters will cast their ballots in two Congressional races and in the four-way battle to be Wyoming’s next governor.

Park County voters will have a relatively small voice in those bigger, top-of-the-ticket items, but further down the list, locals are casting the decisive ballots.

While they might not be quite as headline-grabbing as a battleground race in Texas, Powell area voters have some serious decisions to make.

For example, there are five local residents looking to serve (or continue serving) on the Powell school board, but only four seats are available; similarly, four candidates are seeking three seats on the Crown Hill Cemetery District Board, three contenders filed for two Powell area seats on the Northwest College board and there are two contested races for the Powell Clarks Fork Conservation District board.

None of those board seats — which are unpaid posts — are glamorous, but they’re important positions; they watch over our tax dollars and supervise our institutions.

We appreciate the work that these volunteers do on behalf of our community and it’s encouraging to see candidates willing to step up and serve. Along those same lines, we hope that voters take these positions seriously as well, and take the time to make an informed choice.

It was also neat to see so many people willing to step up and serve in the Powell city government; every single available position on the city council and for the mayor’s office drew two contenders. We believe that’s a sign of a healthy democracy.

Of course, only about half of the races on the ballot are being contested, with voters being asked to basically rubber stamp the other positions.

It is a little disappointing to see no competition for the 10 county-level positions up for election on the general election ballot, particularly for the three available seats on the Park County Commission. A total of 10 Republican candidates ran for the posts back in August and GOP voters appear to have chosen three very good candidates to represent the party. However, from a perspective of process and participation, it still just doesn’t seem quite right the race was effectively over before it even began for independent, Democratic and other non-Republican voters.

We continue to believe some kind of runoff election is worth exploring in Wyoming.

In the meantime, however, there are still dozens of important decisions for local voters to make in next week’s general election. We hope you’ll take the time to get informed and vote on (or before) Nov. 6.

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