Things to be sure of

There are very few things we can be certain of in our lives.

So few, in fact, that we can’t even be sure of just who was the first to tell us that the only things certain in life were death and taxes. While many people believe that the quote came from Benjamin Franklin in 1789, it turns out that its origin actually can be traced back to 1716 and Christopher Bullock, an English actor and dramatist.

Another thing we can’t ever be certain about is how elections will turn out.

That’s important to remember as we cast our ballots on Tuesday.

About all we can know for sure is that when the last vote is counted sometime early Wednesday morning, Jefferson County will have a new auditor and Ohio will have a new governor, a new attorney general, a new auditor of state and a new secretary of state.

The county auditor’s job opened up earlier this year when longtime auditor Pat Marshall decided not to seek re-election. That left the race wide open for Republican E.J. Conn and Democrat Scott Renforth.

On the state level, a long election process that began more than a year ago is quickly winding down. Both major parties had grueling primary campaigns that resulted in the Republicans nominating Mike DeWine and Jon Husted and the Democrats nominating Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton. The winner will replace Republican John Kasich, who was term-limited.

Term limits also are directly responsible for the new faces who will occupy other statewide offices after this year’s election. Republican Dave Yost, who is currently Ohio’s auditor of state, is running against Democrat Steve Dettelbach for attorney general. Yost has served two terms as auditor, which means he couldn’t seek re-election.

That cleared the way for Republican Keith Faber and Democrat Zach Space to run for state auditor.

Husted, meanwhile, has served two terms as secretary of state, which means he couldn’t seek re-election to the post that will likely belong to either Republican Frank LaRose or Democrat Kathleen Clyde.

Democrat Bob Richardson and Republican Robert Sprague will face off for treasurer of state, a post currently held by Josh Mandel, who also was term-limited. Mandel originally had decided to run for the Republican nomination to face incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown, but abandoned his campaign in January, citing his wife’s health as the reason. That decision allowed Jim Renacci to get the GOP nod in that race.

Our local races are far less confusing. In addition to Jefferson County auditor, the county commissioner seat held by Democrat Thomas Graham is on the ballot. He’s being challenged by independent Martin Sohovich. Also on the ballot is Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, a race that puts incumbent Republican Bill Johnson against Democrat Shawna Roberts.

Everyone who votes Tuesday will get the chance to weigh in on Issue 1, a constitutional amendment to reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing and using illegal drugs.

Others will have the chance to decide the fate of school levies, numerous renewals, additional taxes and local options governing the sale of certain types of alcohol.

It all means that there are plenty of important issues that you’ll be able to have your say about if you vote. And, it’s never been easier to make your voice heard. Many area residents, in fact have taken advantage of early voting, and their ballots aleady have been cast.

You can make a difference and have a say in how our government is run if you’ll take the time to vote. And that’s one thing we know for sure.

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