Our View: Do your duty: get informed and vote
In recent weeks, several readers have asked if The Union Editorial Board intends to endorse a candidate for President of the United States.
The tradition of editorial endorsement of candidates dates back to earliest days of newspapers, including the very paper you’re holding in hands (or reading online), as the birth of The Union was for an intended political purpose. Henry Blumenthal and James Townsend arrived in Grass Valley 152 years ago to start up a newspaper supporting the reelection of Abraham Lincoln, hence the words “Founded in 1864 to preserve the Union … one and inseparable” published beneath the front-page flag of each edition.
But 152 years later, the purpose of the paper has significantly shifted from political to one based in community service. Our mission in connecting the communities of western Nevada County is to offer insights and observations that will help voters make their own decisions.
Certainly there is no shortage of opinion among the 16 members of our Editorial Board, a mix of people from the paper and community with a wide range of views. As many of our members have shared their own opinions on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump through their columns, it’s clear there is no consensus on whom the board would suggest as candidates to endorse. Rather than offering a “board approved” list of candidates or measures, our role is to provide the public with content it needs to make an informed decision.
To that end, readers might have noticed a new “Elections” tab on the home page at TheUnion.com, where coverage of candidates, ballot measures and key dates for the Nov. 8 election can be easily found. So far, The Union’s reporting has included discussion of measures A (Library tax), B (High school district tax) and C (Nevada City tax), as well as statewide ballot measures such as Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, with a two-story look at life in Colorado since it became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Summaries and full text of each of the state’s 17 propositions are also available, as will be coverage of the Board of Education and local school board races (Oct. 21). In coming weeks, we’ll also offer information on the Nevada Irrigation District director races (Oct. 28), as well as the Congress, state Assembly and Senate contests (Nov. 4). All election content can also be found at TheUnion.com/News/Elections.
In addition, our live coverage at TheUnion.com will once again report results as they are released on Election Night.
For those wanting to share their own opinions on the campaign season, the deadline for election-related letters to the editor or “Other Voices” submissions is Monday, Oct. 31. We will not publish any election-related opinions after Saturday, Nov. 5. Considering the short time frame remaining to publish your thoughts in print, it’s more likely that a 200-word letter to the editor will appear in print than an “Other Voices” piece, which has a 750-word limit.
Regardless of how you intend to vote, one endorsement we do offer is the importance of doing your civic duty in making your voice be heard.
Nevada County has a rich tradition of topping the typical statewide turnout of voters. But lately our community is seeing far too many signs of apathetic attitudes toward elections, particularly in the number of candidates running for office — some who don’t even bother to attend our local candidate-night forums when invited.
Of course, our democracy is the hands of “We the People” each election. But as American educator and writer Robert M. Hutchins said so well, “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.”
And our vote, granted to us by those Americans who made such great sacrifice for our right to cast it, is far too precious to be taken for granted.
Do your duty — get informed and vote — preserve our Union, which regardless of our opposing opinions, remains one and inseparable.
The weekly Our View column represents the opinions of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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