Steamboat Springs There is perhaps no single greater responsibility for citizens of a democratic country than casting a ballot on Election Day. In the midst of an economic crisis, an ongoing war and countless other issues of local, regional, national and international importance, it can be argued that this November's general election is as important as any in recent memory.
For those and many other reasons, we urge all eligible Routt County residents to register to vote by the Oct. 6 deadline - one week from tomorrow. Once registered, voters should heed the advice of Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland and vote early to avoid the long Election Day lines that plagued our county two years ago.
The relative dearth of contested local races and ballot initiatives shouldn't keep voters away from the polls this year. County voters will decide on a state senator for District 8 and a state representative for District 57. They'll also vote for a new district attorney, and city of Steamboat Springs voters will have a say in the renewal of a half-cent sales tax for education as well as whether those tax revenues should be shared with neighboring school districts.
Of course, voters also will help decide a closely contested presidential election in addition to a U.S. senator, a U.S. representative for the Third Congressional District, 14 state constitutional amendments, four statewide referenda, and the retention of state Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges. This year's ballot is similar in length to the one that contributed to four-hour Election Day lines in 2006.
One of the best ways to prevent long lines at the polls is for voters to educate themselves about the candidates and issues. Indeed, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow citizens to be an informed electorate.
Throughout the next several weeks, the Steamboat Pilot & Today will provide its stances on a variety of state amendments and local ballot questions. The Pilot & Today also will publish its annual Election Guide insert in the Oct. 10 and Oct. 24 editions of the Steamboat Today. Voters owe it to themselves and their country to be informed about the issues and candidates.
Election blue books were mailed out last week, and amendment and referenda information is available at the Secretary of State's Web site, www.govotecolorado.com. Voter registration forms and sample ballots are available online at www.co.routt.co.us/clerk. Voters also can register at City Market in Steamboat.
Several election forums also will be held in the coming weeks, including an Oct. 17 forum sponsored by the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Steamboat tv18, the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, the Routt County Democratic Party and the Routt County Republican Party.
Fulfill your duty as an American citizen. Educate yourself about the candidates and ballot issues. Register to vote, and vote early to avoid long lines on Election Day.