Not to be lost in the shuffle of the 100 mph COVID-19 news cycle is a primary election 10 days away. We wish there was more to draw voters to the polls, but once again, ballots will be filled with as many empty slots as names.
In the June 2 primary, none of the incumbent local lawmakers at the state and federal levels have competition. State Reps. Lynda Schlegel Culver, Kurt Masser and David Rowe, along with state Sens. John Gordner and Gene Yaw are all unopposed. Culver, Masser and Rowe have a clear path in November since no Democrats are in the primary either, securing additional two-year terms for the Republicans.
There is a contested race in the 84th, a seat vacated by retiring State Rep. Garth Everett whose district covers two townships in northern Union County. Three Republicans and a Democrat are on the ballot.
Gordner and Yaw will both face challengers in the fall.
At the federal level, first-term U.S. Reps. Fred Keller and Dan Meuser are unopposed on June 2. There are two Democrats running to face Meuser in the fall, while Democrat Lee Griffin will challenge Keller.
Each of these candidates deserves our recognition for serving the public. Not everyone chooses to stand up.
We do wish more people would. The empty ballot slots are not just in our region. According to The Associated Press, about a quarter of the House is certain to be back next year. These members have neither primary nor general election opposition. Nearly half of all members face only an opponent in the fall. Just 7 percent of state representatives — 15 of 203 — have a challenger in both June and November.
In a government of we the people, that’s pathetic.
Even though the ballots are empty, find a way to make your vote.
Be sure to exercise your foundational right to cast a ballot, whether that be safely distanced at your polling station or with your constitutionally protected, safe and viable mail-in or absentee options.
The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is Tuesday. Your ballot is due in the election office before the end of business on June 2.
There may not be a ton of choices right now, but that shouldn’t stop any of us from voting, now or ever.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.