The 2012 general election is shaping up to be as hot and contested as the election in 2008.
While most eyes are focused on the presidential campaign, there are state and local races that voters in Ohio and West Virginia need to take just as seriously.
Nov. 6 is quickly approaching and the best voter is an educated voter. Take the time in the next couple weeks to get to know the candidates and the issues so when the time comes to vote, whether at the polls on Election Day or in early voting, you are knowledgeable about the candidates and the issues.
The last day to register to vote in this election in Ohio is Oct. 9. The deadline in West Virginia is Oct. 16
West Virginia voters, in addition to the presidential race, face choices on candidates for governor, U.S. representative and Senate and races on the county level.
Jefferson County voters have contested elections for U.S. senator and representative, state senator, two county commissioner seats and 21 issues and levies, including four school levies.
Voters can observe presidential candidates in action during the upcoming nationally televised debates.
There also are several local meet the candidate events scheduled during the upcoming weeks.
County candidates can be addressed on the local level through face-to-face interaction.
Voters need to understand the candidates and their platforms, beliefs and agendas. Making an educated choice is an important responsibility of living in a democracy.
Voter turnout is always high in presidential elections, so an above-average number of people will head to the polls. Some are only interested in the race for president. Others believe it is important to vote in every race and on issues or levies.
Getting to the polls or casting a ballot in early voting this year is more important than ever. With so much on the line, it would be disappointing if voter turnout isn't well above 70 percent. Elections with just local or state candidates, unfortunately, see more voter apathy.
Get to know the candidates and the issues and levies and then cast your vote.