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Get out and vote!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The single most important aspect of a healthy democracy is having a well informed, engaged populace voting for their representation.

Every single Newton and Jasper County resident of voting age should plan on voting next Tuesday, if they haven’t already done so by absentee ballot. It’s simply too important not to vote.

There’s no excuse for not exercising the right to vote, especially at a time when it’s easier than ever to vote in Iowa. Voters who haven’t pre-registered can even register to vote at the polls on election day with a proof of identification and proof of residence. A current driver’s license may be all someone needs, or if the address is out of date, the license combined with a utility bill from the current residence would suffice, too.

Poll workers are friendly and helpful and can point voters in the right direction if they find themselves at the wrong polling place.

Whatever your political beliefs may be, we can’t emphasize enough that you need to get out and vote.

Not only should everyone plan on voting, they should also seek to educate themselves about the candidates and key issues as well. Key races impacting Jasper County voters include the county supervisor race where voters can choose among four candidates — Democrats John Parsons and Joe Brock and Republicans Bill Ward and Denny Carpenter — for two seats. Gov. Chet Culver (D) vies against former governor Terry Branstad (R) and four other challengers on the ballot in the Iowa gubernatorial race. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) squares off against challenger Roxanne Conlin in the Iowa Senate race. Dan Kelley (D) and Gabe Swersie (R) are running for the state representative seat in District 41 and challenger Joe Pirillo (R) faces State Sen. Dennis Black (D) for the senate seat in Iowa’s District 21.

Newton had about a 17 percent turnout in its city election last year. The turnout this time for county and state elections, should be higher. But turnout is never high enough. When more than half the population chooses not to vote, it shows an apathetic population that simply doesn’t care.

The bottom line is it’s on each and every one of us to make an informed choice on Nov. 2 that will impact the whole community.

Get informed and then go vote.

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