Editorial: Be an informed voter

The 2014 primary election is done. Congratulations to all the candidates who won their primary, and the winners of the school board election.

Even better, kudos to all the voters who took the time to do their civic duty and vote. In Kanawha County, about 21 percent of those registered voted.

Next, in just over five months and three weeks, comes the general election. That’s plenty of time to learn about the candidates on the ballot and make an informed decision. Races to be decided include: The U.S. Senate contest between Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant, to fill the seat being vacated with the retirement of Jay Rockefeller.

All three U.S. House of Representative seats. State Auditor Glen Gainer, a Democrat, will face incumbent Republican David McKinley in District 1; Republican Alex Mooney will face Democrat Nick Casey in District 2, and Republican State Senator Evan Jenkins will face long-time incumbent Democrat Nick Rahall in District 3.

Half of the 34 State Senate seats are up, including District 17 in Kanawha County that pits Democrat House member Doug Skaff versus newcomer physician Republican Tom Takubo to fill the seat currently held by the retiring Brooks McCabe; incumbent Democrat Eric Wells faces Republican challenger Ed Gaunch in Kanawha County’s District 8 as well.

All 100 House of Delegates positions. Besides each delegate seat, at stake is whether Democrats retain control of the House, as they have since the 1930s, or if Republicans can pick up four more seats to become the majority party.

One Commission position each in Kanawha and Putnam county.

There are plenty of ways to learn about the candidates. The best, we like to think, is the Charleston Daily Mail print and online versions, of course.

But there are many other newspapers across the state, accessible via print and online, as well as radio and television stations and internet sites, candidate and party Facebook and Twitter pages, candidate websites, and much more. Local chambers of commerce, women’s clubs and other organizations will hold candidate forums before the general election. Expect some televised debates.

Voters are encouraged to learn about the candidates and issues from as many sources as they can. And while social media allows users to customize their experience to issues and candidates important to them, voters are encouraged to seek out diverse opinions.

In today’s media saturated society, voters can be as informed as they want to be. There are 173 days between now and the general election on November 4. Read. Learn. Study.

Be an informed voter.

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