After months of campaigning, the 2012 election concludes today.
For some there will be a sigh of relief. No more automated phone calls during dinner. No more negative ads. Yard signs will soon be removed. But for all the political distractions, it's critical to remember the importance in voting. Many have fallen on the battlefield to preserve liberty, and the opportunity to vote in free and fair elections is one we should never take for granted.
The presidential race is the major draw for most voters. While it's important to vote for the man we believe should be commander in chief, there are several other races and issues that also deserve our attention.
Statewide contests in Missouri include races for U.S. Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. In Southeast Missouri there are races for state representative, state senate and county offices.
Four statewide ballot initiatives will be decided. Amendment 3 deals with how much influence the governor should have in deciding who sits on the commission that selects court nominees. Proposition A gives the city of St. Louis control of its police department. Proposition B increases taxes on tobacco products. Proposition E would require the legislature or a vote of the people to establish state-based health insurance exchanges.
Jackson voters will also decide on Proposition 1, whether to raise the city's sales tax one-quarter of one percent to fund the operations of a community center and other park improvements and operations. In Gordonville a question on the ballot asks voters if the board of directors of the Gordonville Fire Protection District should be increased to five members. Proposition A in Marble Hill will ask if a sales tax previously passed should be designated to the general fund instead of capital improvements.
Campaigns can be divisive. This year is no exception. In reality this is nothing new. Campaigns by their very nature offer contrasts. Voters are tasked with deciding where they stand on issues and which candidates best represent their views. However, after all the votes are tallied it will be time to do the people's business. The country faces many critical issues, and it's the responsibility of our leaders to govern for the betterment of our country.
Tomorrow a prayer service will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the event room at Chateau Girardeau. The service is organized by the Rev. Jeff Long, a retired pastor formerly of Centenary Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau who now works at Chateau. U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr., Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger and Jackson Mayor Barbara Lohr will all speak. This will be a time to come together in prayer for our country and leaders.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. For the latest election news, go to semissourian.com and read Wednesday's Southeast Missourian.