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There are big things to vote on

Many residents in our part of Eastern Ohio will not go to the polls Tuesday, but it doesn’t mean they don’t care about how their communities are run.

It’s because this spring’s primary ballot in Jefferson County features just one contested race and a few issues, but those are of great importance to the people who live in the areas they affect. Polls won’t even be open in Harrison County, where the board of elections notes a lack of candidates and issues requiring a primary to be held means residents there have nothing to vote on.

Steubenville residents are being asked to renew two income taxes — the 0.7 of 1 percent levy that provides money for street improvements and equipment, parks and recreation capital improvements and the general fund, and the 0.3 of 1 percent issue, with 85 percent of the money it generates going to salaries of municipal employees and 15 percent going to street improvements. Both issues are renewals for five years, and both are critical to operations, city officials have explained.

Voters in the unincorporated areas of Cross Creek Township, meanwhile, are being asked to renew a 1-mill property tax that generates money for general construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and repair of streets, roads and bridges. The five-year issue is important to residents in the affected areas, township officials have said.

There’s only one contested race in Jefferson County — the race for the Democratic nomination in Steubenville’s 4th Ward between incumbent Scott Dressel and Royal Mayo.

When you add it all up, it means that just a handful of precincts in Jefferson County will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, officials with the board of elections have reported.

There will be more contested races in the fall, and it’s expected that several additional levies and issues will be on the general election ballot.

If you have the opportunity to vote Tuesday, you should do so. You have critical decisions to make that will affect the direction of your community.

And if your precinct is not open this spring or you don’t have a contested race to vote in, you still have work to do. Start now to get to know the candidates who will appear in the general election. Be ready to learn about the issues that boards will be placing on the ballot during the next few months. If you are not registered to vote, you have until Oct. 4 to do so in the general election.

Stay informed and be involved — Nov. 2 is really not that far off.

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