Voters know what they want, and it’s not dirty political tricks
If tempers were flaring behind the scenes in Summit County on Election Day it was not evident at the polls where civility and tolerance ruled. Despite early concerns there would not be enough election judges to run the polling locations, concerned volunteers stepped forward in the final few weeks to ensure the voting would go smoothly. Most were expected to work 14-hour shifts on Tuesday, with much of that time spent patiently explaining how to use the new electronic voting machines.
Also on Election Day several citizens, including sitting county commissioner Sally Elliott, put their own political leanings aside to round up voters and drive them to the polls.
Earlier this week, though, it was a different story. Local voters were barraged with anonymous mailers, tacky e-mails and vicious Web sites worthy of the worst Beltway shenanigans.
It has been, arguably, one of the most contentious elections in Summit County’s history and the campaign rhetoric shattered any notion that the division between the Eastside and the Westside was a thing of the past.
With a significant change of government and a swing seat on the three-person county commission at stake, those with vested interests, political axes to grind and strong cultural biases spared no expense to influence the outcomes in their favor. The results were, at best, embarrassing and, at worst, criminally libelous.
From decade-old allegations suddenly surfacing in the sheriff’s race to innuendos of sexual misconduct on both sides of the commission race, Summit County politics descended into the same seamy murk that has turned off so many voters and turned away so many potentially noble candidates across the nation.
We are confident however, that local voters were not distracted by the anonymous allegations and unsubstantiated accusations. We believe Summit County voters turned out this year because they were concerned about their communities, about the environment, about the war in Iraq, about the economy and health care and because they realize, more than ever, that it is a privilege to participate in a democratic system.
As of press time there was no clear indication of who was winning or losing. The only thing that seemed apparent was that the citizens of Summit County wanted to weigh in on their future.
And that in itself is a victory.
For final election results log, including maps of how the county voted, precinct by precinct, log on to http://www.parkrecord.com
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In the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, PJ Falten has been thinking about the “fallen heroes who gave their lives so that something like last Wednesday could never happen on sacred ground. … What would they have thought?”