Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

EDITORIAL: Vote this Tuesday

Preserve your right to complain by doing your job as “Citizen”

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Need a practical reason to vote in this Tuesday’s primary election? Then how about this… doing so preserves your right to engage in one of America’s favorite activities— complaining about the state of our politics. That may be a right under our First Amendment, but rights in a democracy come with responsibilities, and voting is at the top of the job description for the hallowed title of “Citizen.”

If you don’t vote, you don’t count, and nobody should care one iota what you have to say about anything related to politics. It sounds harsh, we know. Call it a little tough love.

Forget the excuses. We know it’s still summertime, the fish are biting, and you think you’ve got better things to do. You may even believe it doesn’t make a difference who is in office. Let’s put this gently: If you think that, you’re flat-out wrong. The 2018 elections could well be a turning point for this country (you’ve heard that before, but this time it’s true), and Tuesday’s primary will determine the choices you’ll have on the November ballot.

And there are real choices on the ballot this Tuesday. On the DFL side, voters will have a choice of three major candidates for governor, including the endorsed candidate Erin Murphy, First District Congressman Tim Walz, and current Attorney General Lori Swanson. The GOP side pits party-endorsed Jeff Johnson against former Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The Eighth District race on the DFL side is a real barn burner as well, with five candidates in the running, including current state Rep. Jason Metsa, former state Rep. Joe Radinovich, North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy, Bemidji resident Soren Sorenson and former KBJR anchor Michelle Lee. As we’ve previously reported, there are some significant differences between the candidates in this race, so who wins really does matter.

We have competitive attorney general races in both parties, and a hotly-contested U.S. Senate fight between appointed Sen. Tina Smith and her hard-charging rival Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and government ethicist.

Our readers in state House District 6B will have a choice between the DFL-endorsed Shaun Hainey, of Pike Township, and Aurora Mayor Dave Lislegard.

And from the sea of lawn signs that have populated our region in recent weeks, it should be apparent that we also have a wide-open contest for St. Louis County Commissioner in the Fourth District, including Mike Forsman Jr., Paul Kess, Dan Manick, Paul McDonald, Bernie Mettler, and Christine Schlotec. Tuesday’s voting will narrow that field to two candidates, who will face off on Nov. 6.

Most polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, so unless you’re working a 13-hour shift, there’s no excuse not to vote. Remember, voting in our region is remarkably quick and easy, particularly compared to other places in the state. Voters in our area rarely face a line, much less a long line. In most cases, you can be in and out in under five minutes.

If you can’t take five minutes to participate in our democracy, at least you’ll know where to look to find the culprit who helped bring about its demise— and that’s in the mirror. Don’t be one of those people. This Tuesday, get out and vote.

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