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Reflecting on election conduct and participation

The Millerton News Editorial

By the time you read this editorial, hopefully, you’ll know who has won most of the races in this year’s election. At least, we think so. We also hope that you’ll have a pretty strong indication of who our next president will be. 

Although with the way the 2020 election season went, voters and pundits alike were wary, with cause. After all, there was the staggering U.S. coronavirus death toll that caused some lifelong Republicans to report they were considering voting Democratic for the first time in their lives in protest of how Trump mishandled the pandemic, to some traditionally Red states looking like they were turning Blue pre-election, but then of course there were some die-hard Trump supporters swearing they’d never defect, to many pro-Trump voters encouraged when the U.S. economy jumped 7.4% in the third quarter at an annual rate of 33.1%, the largest gain in history despite the G.D.P. remaining below pre-pandemic levels. The pollsters couldn’t keep up — the data was all over the map.

Understandably, we were not totally confident of there being confirmed presidential election results by the time readers set eyes on this week’s editorial as we might have been in years past — and certainly we didn’t have them by presstime, which fell on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. 

But, again, we do hope that as of our publication day, Thursday, Nov. 5, the results will be known, even though some pundits speculated it could take days, potentially even weeks, before the official counts are tallied. Considering all of the factors — absentee, mail-in and early voting included — it’s no wonder it may take some time before the American public knows how the elections turned out. Let’s just hope there is a peaceful transition of power regardless of who is declared the victor. 

Thankfully, our local elections haven’t been nearly as contentious. Those who ran for office in our Harlem Valley towns and villages and to represent Dutchess and Columbia Counties in Albany, as well as for our congressional districts in Washington this year, could serve as models for the top two candidates on the national stage. 

Local candidates have behaved with decorum, professionalism and courtesy, as have our county and state candidates, for the most part. It’s been great to see, and we congratulate them on conducting themselves so appropriately. Did some of them send out the what has become almost prerequisite campaign mailers, blasting their opponents for their views on the issues? Of course. After all, they’re in it to win it. But by and large, there really was no major mud-slinging, no nasty name-calling, nothing out of the ordinary that would be on the scale of what we witnessed between Trump and Biden. For that, we should all be thankful.

Another point we’d like to make during this election season: Our readers went above and beyond to participate in the process. One way we could gauge that? Through the vast number of letters to the editor sent in to this newspaper. Wow! We had so many letters to print some weeks we couldn’t even run our regular opinion columns, which although disappointing, we were rather encouraged to note. After all, sharing your thoughts and views with the broader community is one of our priorities, especially after you spend the time and energy to compose those opinions and share them with us. 

We only hope, now that the elections are over, that you will continue to pen letters to the editor on other important community issues. They do so much to inform other readers about what matters to the people who live and work and raise their children in the very same neighborhoods in which they live and work and raise their children. Your letters offer important insight; they offer value. We so appreciate them and we encourage you to keep on writing — on any subject you deem important — please, don’t by shy. 

Letters to the editor are due by Monday morning, 10 a.m. There is a 500-word limit for letters and they must include the letter writer’s full name, phone number and hometown. Simply email letters to editor@millertonnews.com. We look forward to reading about what you have to say, and we know plenty of others who read this newspaper do, too.

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