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Time to step and make a difference -- vote!

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A Pitt County resident votes at the one-stop early voting site at Alice Keene Park on Friday afternoon.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Here we have arrived at one of the first pivotal moments for all you change-makers out there — the first election since the divisive 2016 campaign that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency.

We know it’s a nonpartisan, municipal election, but as poll workers gear up for the start of early voting later this week, consider it as a practice run. Study up on the issues and the candidates and prepare to make a decision. You might learn along the way that no election affects you more directly than those for local government.

The campaign in Greenville already has focused the us on a number of important concerns: maintaining our stormwater system, roads and other infrastructure to keep up with growth; development of the Imperial Tobacco site and other economic development efforts; improvements to our parks; demands on our police force and fire department; and the wisdom of recent decisions like the installation of red light cameras.

After last November’s balloting, people everywhere who were dissatisfied with the outcome vowed to get off their keisters and do something about it. Voting, which many of them failed to do in 2016, was a common resolution.

Thursday will be the first chance since then for folks in Pitt County to do just that. In addition to races for mayor and City Council in Greenville, eight other Pitt municipalities are holding elections.

Voters may cast ballots from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at Alice F. Keene Park, 4561 County Home Road, through Nov. 3. Four more sites will open with the same hours Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Pitt County Agricultural Center, 403 Government Circle; PATS Conference Room, County Office Building, 1717 W. Fifth St.; East Carolina University Willis Building, 300 E. First St.; and Winterville Fire Station Community Room, 2593 Railroad St., Winterville. All the sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4. Election day is Nov. 7.

The turnout for municipal elections is dismally small. The Pitt County Board of Elections reports that in the last 10 years the high was 18.34 percent in 2011 and the low was 15.7 percent in 2013. Turnout for last year’s presidential election was 66 percent.

We predict a relatively good turnout this year because several open seats have produced hotly contested races, and many candidates have risen to challenge incumbents. It could be that turnout rises above 20 percent.

We doubt it will get much higher though. Seems like it doesn’t take long for the excitement of a presidential election year to wear off and for things return to the status quo.

We hope you voters prove us wrong.

ENDORSEMENTS, LETTERS

The Daily Reflector will publish its endorsements of Greenville candidates on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. It will not accept Public Forum submissions endorsing candidates after Wednesday. All submissions received by Wednesday will be published as space allows.

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