Time to Vote

Time+to+Vote

JEWISH LIGHT EDITORIAL

At Sunday’s community vigil to commemorate victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue murders, the most enthusiastic audience response came when the crowd was urged to exercise their power at the ballot box to put their priorities in place.

At a time when events seem overpowering and out of control, voting can help restore a sense of order. No matter where you live, Tuesday’s ballot will include candidates and issues that can have a significant impact on your life. Now it’s time to educate yourself about what’s at stake, then exercise your right and responsibility to take control and cast your ballot.

In a midterm election, when the presidency is not at stake, finding accurate, impartial information about ballot issues can be frustrating. But there are reliable, comprehensive sources to which you can turn, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at stltoday.com and St. Louis Public Radio at stlpublicradio.org.

To start, learn what is on the ballot where you live and where you can vote. The easiest way to get a personalized ballot is by going online to vote411.org, where you can enter your address and get the information you need.

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In Missouri, the highest-profile race is for U.S. Senate between incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley. But all seats for the U.S. House, the Missouri House and half of the Missouri Senate are also up for grabs. Incumbent state Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, is seeking a full term; she is opposed by Republican Saundra McDowell.

In Illinois, statewide offices from governor on down are at stake, with incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, challenged by Democrat J.B. Pritzker. State Senate and House races, along with local contests, fill out the ballot.

Also on the Missouri statewide ballot are a host of issues, including:

• Three proposals that would legalize medical marijuana. Two of the proposals, Amendment 2 and Amendment 3, would change the state constitution; the third, Proposition C, would change state law.

• Amendment 1, which would change election requirements concerning lobbying, redistricting and campaign finance.

• Amendment 4, concerning the regulations surrounding bingo.

• Proposition B, to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour.

• Proposition D, to increase the state gasoline tax.

St. Louis County voters will decide on county executive, prosecuting attorney and assessor, along with propositions dealing with smoking in casinos, a charter commission and a sales tax for the Zoo. In the Parkway School District, a $110 million bond issue for a variety of security and maintenance projects is on the ballot.

Finally, voters in St. Louis city and county will decide whether to retain judges in the circuit courts, appellate court and Supreme Court. Evaluations of the judges, conducted by the Missouri Bar, are online at yourmissourijudges.org. 

The ballot may be long, but, in this highly charged political atmosphere, voters should be more aware than ever of the responsibility and authority they have. Your vote is the best way to let public officials know how you feel. Don’t throw away the chance to let your voice be heard. 

Educate yourself, then show up at your polling place on Tuesday.