Get ready for Election Day

There are few things that we can know for sure, but if you live in the city of Steubenville, there is at least one thing that is guaranteed: Come Wednesday morning, residents will have elected a new mayor for the first time in 25 years.

It will be the end of a campaign season that started in earnest in the middle of January, right after Domenick Mucci announced that he would not seek re-election to the post he has held since January 1993, when he gaveled his first meeting to order after replacing the late Dave Hindman, who had left the mayor’s post to mount a successful campaign for a seat with the Jefferson County commissioners.

One thing that sets this year’s race for the Steubenville mayor’s most apart from too many elections in our area is that voters have been presented with a choice. Each of the four seeking the spot, Republican Jerry Barilla, Democrat Frankie DiCarlantonio, non-party candidate Royal Mayo and Michael Walenciej, a write-in candidate, has shown during the campaign that they believe there is a bright future for the city.

While their approaches might be different, each has offered a vision for the town that sees economic growth and improving the city’s image as a catalyst for improvement. We also learned during the campaign that the candidates have respect for one another and their varied viewpoints.

Residents have had ample opportunities to hear what each of the candidates has had to say during the past several months. They’ve had the chance to meet with each of them and discuss the issues.

Whether it’s been at a candidates’ forum, at one of the many dinners and other social events held during the several months or while walking down the street, the candidates have been open and willing to talk about their campaigns.

Choices at the polls help to make our government stronger. Several other races that appear on Tuesday’s ballot offer choices, including Steubenville’s 2nd Ward — incumbent Republican Michael Johnson and Democrat challenger Craig Petrella — and the city’s 6th Ward — incumbent Democrat Bob Villamagna and Republican challenger Sam Ivkovich.

There also are contested races in several other communities. Republican Robert Bertram and Democrat Joshua Troski are battling for Toronto’s 1st Ward seat; Democrat Adam Peeler and non-party candidates George Irwin and James Morrocco are running for two seats on Mingo Junction’s Council; and six candidates — Robbie Martin, Jason Mattern, Bob Merriman, Ralph Parissi Jr., Steven Sipes and Randy Spence — are after four available seats on Wintersville Council.

Other contested races are on the ballot in communities and townships throughout Jefferson County.

A lot of attention around Ohio has been directed on Issue 2, the prescription drug bill, but voters in Jefferson County also have some important ballot issues to consider, including the renewal of Steubenville’s 5-mill current expenses levy; the Indian Creek Local School District’s 6.49-mill levy that, if passed, will result in the construction of a new high school and new elementary school; the Buckeye Local School District’s 4.9-mill emergency levy; and renewals of Jefferson County’s 1.5-mill 911 levy and 1-mill children services levy.

Each of those races has drawn a sizable amount of interest, and that’s one of the reasons officials with the Jefferson County Board of Elections have estimated that turnout for this election will be out about 45 percent.

Voting has never been easier. A significant number of area residents already have cast their ballots through early voting, and many more will head to their precinct polling places during the day on Tuesday.

Voters across Jefferson County in general and in Steubenville in particular have some important decisions to make in this election cycle.

That’s why it’s important to get out and vote. The results of this year’s elections will determine who will lead our governments and what services will be provided.

Those are just a few more of the things that we know for sure.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)