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We have a better shot at electing the leaders that will represent us best if we take the time to cast a vote

Going into 2020, people throughout the nation already had strong and diverse opinions about how government officials should run communities, states and the country. All one had to do was jump on a social media platform of their choice, turn on a cable news network show or perhaps strike up a conversation with a friend or family member to realize that people differ dramatically about everything from the status of the economy and climate change to Second Amendment rights and health care.

Then, the world found itself in a crippling pandemic that shut down travel, sporting events, churches, businesses and schools. We were mandated to stay home and when we could go out again, we had to stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask. Like many major moments of upheaval, the pandemic gave people a new thing to politicize.

While we grappled with COVID, the death of Black man George Floyd while in the custody of police sparked a passionate and sometimes violent response to systemic racism and police brutality. Protests arose throughout the country, even in rural communities like Prineville, and people once again took sides and voiced strong opinions.

Against this backdrop, Crook County residents and people throughout the country will once again be asked to cast their vote for a variety of political offices from U.S. president to city councilor. Ballots will get mailed out this week and people will once again have the chance to decide who leads their country, state and community.

It is now time for those who have expressed their strong opinions, whether on social media or in the form of protests and counter protests to fill out a ballot and make those views count. But before casting those votes, take the time to really vet the candidates and find out as much as you can about them. Get the facts – from reputable sources. These votes will determine who is in charge for the next few years.

The challenges we face in this country will not likely disappear after Nov. 3 – people will still have passionate, diverse views on important issues – but we have a better shot at electing the leaders that will represent us best if we take the time to cast a vote. Don't waste that privilege, that right.


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