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Upcoming vote has importance

Aug. 23 is important to you — it’s Primary Day and a Special Election!

Early Voting for the Primary Election and for the Special Election will be from Saturday to Aug. 21. Check out the Chautauqua County Board of Election’s website for polling locations, info about absentee ballots, and to view Sample Ballots. Check out the League of Women Voters’ Candidate Forum on Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. featuring Max Della Pia and Joseph Sempolinski, candidates for the Special Election. Location: LoGuidice Center, Fredonia-Stockton Road, Fredonia.

Some voters don’t realize that the primary is one of the most important phases of an election. This is when each vote counts the most, because it gives people the ability to decide who the best candidate is. Unfortunately, some folks skip the primary and only vote in the general election.

Some non-voters then complain that their party’s candidate is not the one they would have picked. Non-voters have no good grounds to complain! Even within the same party, candidates differ greatly — folks who tell themselves otherwise are asleep at the wheel.

Republicans have the opportunity before Aug. 23 primary day to study the issues and candidates, utilize early voting, absentee voting, or voting on primary day, and … show up and vote. At the same time, we all have the important opportunity (responsibility) to cast our vote in the Special Election on Aug. 23 to refill Tom Reed’s vacated seat. Every registered voter, regardless of party affiliation, is eligible to vote in the Special Election.

Primaries are like “mini-races” that give major political parties a good read on who’s their best shot at mobilizing voters and winning the general election.

General election voters might award the winner, but primary voters are the ones who set up the match, and that’s a decision that should be made by more than just a tiny percent of the people. (A recent article in the OBSERVER quoted Chautauqua County Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram, who stated that “…locally about 13% of eligible voters participated in the June primaries.”)

In the end, if you think that your opinion and your vote don’t matter, think again! The people in office are making decisions affecting your life in major and multiple ways.

Gail Crowe is a member of the League of Women Voters of Chautauqua County.

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