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Preparing for a critical election

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

Here it is Oct. 1, and we Americans have already been in deep and contentious discussions about the logistics of voting in the Nov. 3 election for months. It’s a combination of factors, but at the root is the supreme challenge of voting during the COVID-19 pandemic safely. With the president questioning the validity of so many aspects of voting and clearly stating that he will not accept the results if he doesn’t win, and may not even leave the White House on his own volition in that case, Americans have good reason to be anxious about the state of our democratic institutions. We are also right to question what our country will look like after this election. Can we come out whole?

In addition, the repercussions of COVID-19 make for a tough year for candidates to connect with a wide variety of voters, especially locally in northwest Connecticut. The coronavirus has made face-to-face campaigning, still a strong tradition in this rural New England region, unsafe and unwelcome. Two years ago at election time, The Lakeville Journal cosponsored with the League of Women Voters of Litchfield County debates with the candidates for the state’s 64th House and 30th Senate districts. The event brought out by far the highest number of attendees ever in 20 years of sponsoring such debates. Voters here like to see their candidates in person, see them interact with one another and have a chance to meet them to ask questions or make statements directly and see their reactions in the moment. That kind of event, with hundreds of people in attendance, will not happen in 2020, like so many other gatherings we used to take for granted.

So this newspaper and the candidates are in the process of coming up with alternate plans to have the most important issues the state faces in this time of multiple crises discussed openly for all voters to be able to see and hear. But all voters should keep track of their candidates, not only online via Twitter or Facebook, but at their own websites and by keeping track of profiles and interviews in local media. Keep watch for the solution for a debate format in this newspaper. 

This is an important election at all levels of government, from the presidential election to the state races. The outcomes will shape history for years, so voters need to educate themselves, steer clear of inaccurate information and make their voting decisions based on deep knowledge of each candidate. 

Don’t let the contentious climate and the coronavirus prevent you from voting.  Whether you vote via absentee ballot or in person on Nov. 3, just be sure to vote. 

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