Primaries are important, too

Voter turnout in Elk County is generally very good; area residents should be proud of themselves for exercising their right to vote. Sometimes, however, primary elections like the one coming up on Tuesday, May 17 see a dip in voter participation. I hope that is not the case on Tuesday. We tend to skip the primary stages of things and go right for the meat - a lot of people don't follow "American Idol" until the group is narrowed down to 12 or so. While it seems more expedient, you can miss a lot that way - and by the way, if you are 18 and older and have voted for "American Idol" this season but do not plan to vote on Tuesday, shame on you - one actually is more important than the other, I can assure you. The primary election is just that - the beginning of the process for those candidates who will become your elected officials in the future. It's your chance to get in on the ground floor and let candidates know your stand on things; it gives you a say in who is weeded out and who will go on to run in the general election. There are some offices this year that are open after a long time due to retirement, and a lot of new faces in the running. The people you choose will be the ones affecting you at the most basic level of government. And don't forget to thank your poll workers, all volunteers, many of whom have worked at the same polling place for years to assist voters, record names and generally ensure a fair and accurate election process. Your vote counts - you count. So please get yourself out to the polls on Tuesday to exercise your voting voice - and if you don't, please don't exercise your voice later when you're not happy about who wins - although we are lucky to count freedom of speech as one of our rights, you really shouldn't have the right to complain if you don't bother to vote. But feel free to say whatever you want about the results of "American Idol." - by Victoria Stanish, Editor, The Daily Press