Consequential races deserve large turnout at the polls Tuesday

When it comes to primary elections, sometimes the ballot appears to hold few reasons for residents to turn out and vote.

That, quite dramatically, is not the case this year.

For starters, not only is it the primary election in which party nominations are made, but also a special election to fill a seat in Congress.

That means every registered voter, including those registered as Independents and parties other than just Democrat and Republican, may cast a ballot for Congress on Tuesday. Democrat Marc Friedenberg and Republican Fred Keller are battling to win the seat left vacant by the resignation of Rep. Tom Marino.

Among party nominations is an unprecedented race among nine candidates for the two Republican nominations for Lycoming County commissioner.

The nomination for a county judge’s spot is up for grabs.

There is a contested race for the Republican nomination for district attorney. With no race on the Democratic side, it is probably a de facto race to determine the next DA for the county.

There is a contested race for the Republican nomination for Williamsport’s next mayor.

These competitions all represent unusually high stakes for a primary election.

And then there are the dozens of important neighborhood nomination races for school board, borough council and township supervisor seats throughout the county and region.

If it were a sleepy Primary Election with very little of consequence on the ballot, we would be telling you to vote as an act of honoring the unparalleled freedoms we have. And that should always be enough to get you to the polls.

Poor turnout also sends a message to people elected to public service that the electorate is largely apathetic, which amounts to a license for them to be less engaged in their work than they should be.

But we don’t have to sell this upcoming decision day. It sells itself.

Representation to some of the most consequential public offices we have is on the line. The ballot is full of reasons for a larger-than-normal turnout at the polls on Tuesday.

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