Our View: Get your cheat sheet ready

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Craig Editorial Board

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Allan Reishus, community representative
  • Chris Runyan, community representative
  • Ken Wergin, community representative

Moffat County voters have a big decision to make in coming weeks.

In fact, they have 33 decisions to make.

The ballot that voters face in the general election is quite daunting - especially when you consider the 16 candidates running for president alone and the numerous ballot issues, including four that are no longer valid (Amendments 53, 55, 56 and 57) but still appear.

If area residents go to vote without doing a little research first, making the necessary decisions could be a long, frustrating process.

That's why we are advocating educating ourselves now about all of the candidates, judges and issues on the ballot.

This year's ballot is four pages long (two double-sided sheets). Those of us who are voting a mail-in ballot will have the time necessary to sit down with the ballot, take the time to read it carefully, maybe do a little research as we vote, but those of us who show up at the polls from Oct. 20 to 31 at the County Clerk's office for early voting or at Centennial Mall on Election Day will need to be prepared ahead of time.

It's not often a public official suggests making a cheat sheet.

But that's exactly what County Clerk and Recorder Elaine Sullivan said people voting at the polls should do.

First, get a copy of the ballot. Second, do some research and fill it in for how you want to vote. Finally, take it with you when you go.

Sample ballots are available at the Clerk's office (while they last) or online at www.co.moffat.co.us/ClerkandRecorder/elections.htm. The Blue Book offers pros and cons and explanations of the ballot issues, as well as recommendations on the judges up for retention. The Daily Press has written numerous stories on election issues and candidates, which are all accessible at www.craigdailypress.com/news/election_2008/ and there is ton of information available elsewhere online.

But don't stop there.

We also should be asking our friends, relatives, civic leaders and organizations, elected officials and anyone else we run into about election issues. This is the time of year when it's appropriate to talk politics - just don't try to force it. Try to find out why people are voting a certain way or endorsing certain candidates or issues; then evaluate how you feel.

Another great source of local election information for Moffat County residents is the debate that will be held Thursday evening at Centennial Mall, hosted by the Daily Press and KRAI radio station. Candidates for the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives, Moffat County commissioner and 14th Judicial District Attorney will tackle questions on their campaign platforms, plans should they be elected and more.

With all of these options and resources, there really isn't a reason to go to vote unprepared.

But if you do, make sure to vote sensibly. If you do not understand an issue, consider leaving it blank, instead of simply voting "no."

We certainly hope that everyone makes finding out more about the issues and candidates a top priority before they vote, though. If we all do a little homework, it will lead to smart, informed decisions and election results that benefit us all as a community.

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