THE NOV. 6 presidential election looms as one of the most crucial in U.S. history. President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney offer voters polar opposite options.
The local ballot, however, should not be lost in the presidential campaign fanfare. Especially in Belmont County, where several big-ticket items are up for voter consideration. Included in those decisions are selecting a new sheriff, sorting out a three-person commissioner's race and deciding the fate of a bevy of levies.
With outcomes of such importance, Belmont County Election Board Director Bill Shubat is expecting a sizable turnout. He is predicting "between 20,000-25,000 voters, about half the registered total. Last time we had around 30-35 percent."
We hope such predictions are accurate. In fact, it would be refreshing if even larger numbers cast ballots.
Elections help guide our future at all levels, so the more taking part in the franchising process serves as a positive.
Voting is made much easier these days via absentee ballots. Shubat noted at Monday's board of election meeting that his office had received more than 6,000 absentee ballot applications thus far.
In year's past, up to 14,000 absentee ballots were requested in Belmont County. That impressive total reflects the ease in which that process affords while also showing how serious almost a third of eligible voters take the elections.
The deadline for voter registration is Tuesday, Oct. 9 by 9 p.m. We urge all those eligible and who have not registered to do so. Then once registered, we stress the need to exercise your right to vote.