Election mission: Study up and vote!

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And the race is on.

There seems to be a high level of interest in this year’s primary election, from county contests to state and federal races. The Daily Inter Lake has been publishing articles about the candidates for contested county races, with the four hopefuls for Flathead County sheriff featured in today’s edition.

If you haven’t done your homework yet to learn about where the candidates stand on important issues, there’s still time. Absentee ballots for the June 5 primary will be mailed this week on May 11. With a trend toward more and more absentee voting, we’ve been working hard to inform voters about candidates’ positions prior to the start of early voting.

The slate of people running for county positions is the biggest in quite a few years. It’s been a while since Flathead County has had four law-enforcement professionals (all Republicans) running for sheriff in a race that doesn’t include the incumbent. Sheriff Chuck Curry is retiring, so that race is wide open.

The District 3 commissioner position is a high-profile contest this time around, too, with three Republicans taking on incumbent Commissioner Gary Krueger. Since Krueger just barely won the primary election six years ago, besting Jay Scott by just a few votes, it will be interesting to see how Scott fares this time around with two other solid candidates, Ronalee Skees and Randy Brodehl, in the mix.

The Department 2 Justice of the Peace race pits two lawyers, Paul Sullivan and William Managhan, to take the place of outgoing Justice of the Peace Mark Sullivan.

There are a couple of state legislative races worth watching, and of course the federal congressional races are of high interest to voters. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., faces stiff competition from a slew of Republicans and two Green Party hopefuls. Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., is being challenged by five Democrats, a Green Party candidate and a Libertarian.

Several candidate forums have taken place over the past several weeks, giving voters more opportunities to get to know the candidates. There’s a lot to learn to be an informed voter, so don’t wait until the last minute.

It bears reminding folks that voting is our civic duty. Make your vote — and your voice — count.

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