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A vote for a candidate — it equals endorsement

This year features an historic election, one that’s produced a sharp division among parties, sections of the country and even in some cases neighbors.

It seems as though the two sides can be sorted out by anything from occupation to hobbies, type of vehicle and preferred news sources. It’s definitely not that simple. There’s a myriad of factors that may influence how someone will vote when they step up to the polling booth or the mailbox.

Now is a more important time than ever to take a good hard look at the candidates in every race that appears on someone’s ballot.

How much relevant experience do they have? What positions do they take on the issues? What kind of remarks do they make in advertisements, brochures and forums?

With the polarization between the two major parties, we’re confronted with far too much of a temptation to just accept the candidates that are on our preferred sides of the aisle. It could cause someone to gloss over potential shortcomings.

It’s important to take advantage of opportunities to follow the campaign. Information should be sought out from more than one source. When there’s a difference in interpretation, it’s time to compare and contrast in a way that can help to determine which report is most grounded in reality.

That’s easier said than done. Taking it upon ourselves to collect information involves valuable time. We don’t have several hours a day to do it.

It’s still important to take a little extra time if it leads to more of a comfort level in terms of understanding the major questions that confront society in 2020.

The coronovirus, health care, Social Security, race relations and the economy. That’s just a start. This year it’s a very long list.

There are always two options if a candidate from someone’s preferred party doesn’t measure up from an issues standpoint; or if they don’t seem like someone who can unite people, bring out the best in people, and draw strength from having a well-informed public.

One is to cross over. It might be that a candidate on the surface doesn’t seem to be the right one. That person might actually prove best, however, when all factors are considered.

Another option is to exercise the right to a write-in vote. That lets the chips fall where they may with the two chosen candidates, but for a voter who truly doesn’t like either choice it could be the most sensible thing to do.

Write-ins can make a statement at any level of government. It would have gotten noticed if thousands of Republicans would have written in Mitt Romney in 2016, or if thousands of Democrats had written in Bernie Sanders.

On the local level, it’s very possible that an early evening Election Day conversation in a bar could prompt participants to write in someone for a local office before the polls close. They might even have time to call up friends and tell them to get to the polls. It could result in a major surprise.

Is someone disloyal to “the cause” if they go with either of those two options? Or, almost as bad, does it make someone indecisive or weak minded?

With both questions, the right answer is absolutely not.

Instead it puts someone in the category of a free minded thinker. It’s the same kind of free-minded foundation that led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Each November we continue to build on that tradition. Hopefully everyone weighs the options, thinks about it and then decides for themselves.

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