Focusing down the ballot

Voters should make informed decisions on local elections.

Daily Editorial Board

In sharp contrast to four years ago, Minnesota has received little national attention during this campaign season. Neither President Barack Obama nor Gov. Mitt Romney have spent much time in the state, as polling data has shown Obama with a relatively strong lead heading into November. Lower down the ballot, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has a double-digit lead over Republican opponent Kurt Bills.

With little uncertainty over the outcome of the state’s two high-profile races this election cycle, Minnesotans might be tempted to feel as though voting in this election is a waste of time because their vote won’t have much of an impact. This attitude is not only the wrong way to look at the voting process, it’s also just wrong. There are many important and competitive races going on in every district of the state, they just happen to be lower down the ballot. While the local races might not be as exciting as the presidential one, the people who win them and the decisions they make as local officials are just as, if not more, impactful to our daily lives than what goes on at the national level. There are multiple Minnesota Supreme Court races taking place this year that voters should take a look at before heading to the polls, as the justices who are elected will be expected to defend and uphold the state constitution. Making an informed vote for the state Legislature is important as well.

It’s understandable that voters might not have the time or energy to keep track of every race going on in their district. However, in the age of the Internet and smartphones, researching candidates running for office at any level is an extremely easy and quick process. You can even look up which candidates will be on your ballot before heading to the polls on the secretary of state’s website. All it takes is a short break from checking your Facebook or Twitter.