America should educate itself — and then vote

Freedom Newspapers

Important decisions will be made in Tuesday’s general election and we hope many voices chime in on the outcomes.

Locally we will decide on county commissioners, a county treasurer, state legislators and several bond issues that would raise taxes but help fund education, senior citizens facilities and libraries.

At the national level, of course, American voters will choose the next leader of the free world. In Roosevelt County, Assistant County Clerk Janet Collins said she believes the presidential race already has helped bring 25 percent of Roosevelt’s registered voters to the polls.

“I think people are more concerned about this election than they have been in some time,” she said. “I think they’re taking this one a bit more serious than in the past.”

Collins based her views on conversations she has had with some early voters.

In Curry County, more than a third of the 21,000 registered voters had cast ballots by noon Saturday.

Those numbers are well above normal.

With our nation at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, this voting surge is welcome news. The early turnout bodes well for a heavy turnout Tuesday, too.

We seldom endorse candidates or issues in elections. We’ve made one exception this time and encourage voters to approve General Obligation Bond B on the ballot. It would bring $95 million to the state’s higher educational facilities at a cost of about $10 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home. Eastern New Mexico University could build a new science center if the measure passes and Clovis Community College and Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari would also benefit.

All our campuses need the specified improvements, and this need is the right way to recoup our own tax dollars.
As for the presidential race, we have reservations about Bush and Kerry. We encourage voters to select the man they feel will be most likely to streamline government so that it can focus on its No. 1 responsibility, which is to ensure individual freedom for our citizens. That includes providing a strong defense against the terrorists threatening America and its security at home and abroad.

Conservative columnist Mona Charen wrote in Wednesday’s Clovis News Journal that politically ignorant people should stay away from the polls Tuesday.

We agree with her premise, but we remind everyone that it also is easy to learn about issues and candidates in this age of multimedia outlets.

The Clovis News Journal has published a series of questions and answers with candidates in the contested races. If you missed them in the printed newspaper, the articles are viewable by going to our Web page (www.cnjonline.com). Just type in a candidate’s name or the bond issue under the “Search” bar in the top left-hand corner of the home page.

For non-local elections, most candidates have Web sites outlining their views. We also recommend the Project Vote Smart Web site. (www.vote-smart.org) It sends surveys to everybody who files for the state legislature or congressional office each election cycle. You can also call the group’s Voter’s Research hotline at 888-868-3762. A real person will answer your call and provide you what information is available.

Early voting ended Saturday. A Curry County sample ballot and Election Day precincts are published in today’s newspaper. Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you have questions, call the Curry County clerk’s office at 763-5591. The Roosevelt County clerk’s number is 356-8562.