Editorial: Primary voters – it’s all up to you now

  • Lydia Szych, the Hatfield Town Clerk, gets the room in town hall ready for the election Thursday.

Published: 9/7/2016 8:05:47 PM

Across the Valley on Thursday, citizens who have registered to vote can fulfill one of their most important duties in a democratic society: Hiring leaders.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to decide Democratic Party primary contests for Hampshire County sheriff, the 8th District Governor’s Council, the 3rd Hampshire District seat in the state House and the state Senate seat for the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District.

Winners in this week’s balloting must still stand for election Nov. 8, but voting patterns suggest that results Thursday are likely to determine several of the November contests. The election is being held on a Thursday rather than the traditional Tuesday to spare municipalities the cost of paying election workers to set up on the Labor Day holiday.

Though Secretary of State William F. Galvin says statewide voter turnout is expected to be a paltry 8 to 10 percent, turnout could hit 15 percent in Hampshire County, he predicts, due to interest in these local races. In both the sheriff’s and House races, incumbents are stepping down after decades of service, giving would-be successors a rare chance to compete for an open seat. Information on all of the candidates on these primary ballots is available at GazetteNET.com. Look for the “2016 Election” section on the home page.

We hope that the turnout in Hampshire County significantly exceeds Galvin’s estimate. If past is prologue, the people elected to replace Sheriff Robert Garvey and state Rep. Ellen Story could well hold those posts for years to come.  

Campaigning for those seats has been vigorous – and Thursday is the day given to voters in this primary to weigh in.

The booths and machines will be waiting. The ballots are stacked and pencils sharpened. All that’s needed now is an engaged citizenry ready to do its part by hiring new public servants.   

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