Did you vote? If not, go cast your ballot

By Observer editorial May 15, 2012 02:49 pm
If you haven’t voted in today’s primary election, there’s still time to cast your ballot. Polling stations will be open until 8 p.m.

Voter turnout in Union County was at 26.2 percent as of 5 p.m. Friday, with 4,011 of 15,308 ballots sent out returned to Union County Clerk Robin Church’s office.

Church said she’s disappointed by the low turnout thus far, especially because of today’s contested races for Union County commissioner and state Senate and House seats.

In a local Republican primary race, incumbent Commissioner Mark Davidson will try to fend off a challenge from La Grande businesswoman Irene Gilbert.

In a state race, La Grande attorney Brent Smith and Umatilla County residents Eli Stephens and Jack L. Esp are challengers against incumbent Bob Jenson for the Republican nomination for state representative of District 58.

In another state Republican primary race, businesswoman Maryl Graybeal Featherstone is vying with Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Hansell for the District 29 state Senate seat vacated by a retiring David Nelson.

Over in Wallowa County, where voters are electing a new sheriff and assessor, voter turnout was at 42 percent as of 5 p.m. Friday, with 2,022 of the 4,834 ballots sent out returned to Wallowa County Clerk Dana Roberts’ office.

Steve Rogers, Donnie Rynearson and Richard Bobbitt are competing in the non-partisan race for sheriff and Gay Fregulia and Dan Deboie are vying for assessor.

Voter turnout thus far is much higher in Wallowa County than Union County but even there less than half of registered voters have participated in the democratic election process we hold dear.

The right to vote and choose our leaders is a cherished American principle but democracy only works if citizens vote.

So if you have voted, thank you. But if you haven’t voted yet, please do.