In terms of primary elections, this is an off year. In the Lakelands, it’s a fairly quiet election season in terms of local races.
With respect to statewide races, the lack of excitement among voters is reflected in the landscape as the sheer lack of political signs is, in and of itself, a sign. Who among any of us would have expected both key parties, the Democratic and GOP faithful, to offer up so many candidates for one seat, that of the state superintendent of education? That race is only rivaled by what many view as the state’s biggest and most important primary race that pits six GOP challengers against Lindsey Graham for his U.S. Senate seat.
Aside from a handful of races, Democrats and Republicans also have advisory questions they can answer. These questions will not have an impact on the state’s constitution. They will not create new laws, nor will they change existing laws. At best, they test the waters of the party faithful and potentially provide the groundwork for what might become party platform planks.
As polls open at 7 a.m. today, we’ll make a prediction: There will not be much of a wait. Not even the ABL -- Anybody But Lindsey -- crowd will result in huge lines and waits at the various polling places. And we doubt the urging by us, the candidates and others will change the anticipated low turnout today. That is a shame too, because elections are important. They are a vital ingredient to our Republic’s democracy. Voting is a right and privilege that should also be seen as a duty, an obligation. Perhaps too many voters have become cynical and do not see their vote as making any difference. Worse, perhaps too many simply do not care enough to exercise their right to vote, a right and privilege for which hundreds and thousands have fought and died, in wars as well as in the nation’s civil rights movement.


We’ll grant you, there are some races that ought not be on the ballot. The governor and lieutenant governor will run as a team in 2018. Finally. If enough voters return to the polls in November and agree the state’s adjutant general should be appointed instead of elected, then that race will also disappear from the ballot.
In the interim, however, we wish voters would prove us wrong and the turnout for this year’s primary will be good. Even if the turnout is far better than we could hope for or imagine, the process typically runs smoothly and people will not be giving up much valuable time to make ballot choices known. Again, even though the party questions are advisory only in nature, we think it is worth voters’ time to consider and answer those questions as they will shape each party’s future stances on issues ranging from online gaming to legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, from defining when life begins to whether the state income tax should be eliminated.
We are not telling you how you should answer the primary’s advisory questions and we’re not telling you who we think deserves your vote. We are, however, urging you not to give up your right and privilege to cast a ballot today.