Editorial: Do your homework to vote informed

Posted 10/8/20

As 2020 rolls on (actually, steamrolls anything and everything once considered ‘normal’), nothing is quite the same anymore.

Health, government, schools, sports, jobs, the economy, …

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Editorial: Do your homework to vote informed

Posted

As 2020 rolls on (actually, steamrolls anything and everything once considered ‘normal’), nothing is quite the same anymore.

Health, government, schools, sports, jobs, the economy, politics — it’s the most bizarre, volatile and unpredictable year in memory. And in one month there’s a fiercely competitive, vile-spewing, blood-curdling national election laid bare by the worst debate in American history.

Heaped on the pile of “new” things to confront is a radically new way of voting. Seemingly overnight, the whole thing has changed.

Yes, thousands of people locally will still visit polling locations on Nov. 3 and feed their votes into the familiar voting machines. But when they do, thousands of their friends and neighbors will have already cast their votes by mail or in-person at Town Hall.

It’s a new phenomenon that many in the political world are still adjusting to. In the past, the countdown typically brought increased anxiety, publicity and advertising as the days drew closer to to Election Day, but this year the voting period actually begins in about a week — before some candidates will have even gotten up to full speed.

Words of encouragement for all voters: Vote when you’re ready, but know who you’re voting for. Locally, there are legitimate races. Eight people vie for town council. Eight more face off for school committee. And two incumbent General Assembly members face challengers.

These are important races for important seats in local government, and every voter should spend some time making sure they know who these people are. Don’t let the rush to cast that Presidential vote overshadow the duty to elect qualified local representatives.

Most candidates have a Web page that outlines their positions and backgrounds. The eastbayri.com website has a new Election 2020 section with pages devoted to dozens of candidates.

Tonight the eight candidates for Bristol Town Council will take part in a live debate. Next week (Oct. 15) candidates for Senate and House also take part in a live debate.

Vote by whatever means is comfortable in 2020, but invest something in that wonderful American right. Do some homework, watch the debate, and if voting early, be as informed as possible.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.