OUR OPINION: Countdown begins to Nov. 8 vote

By NEMS Daily Journal

Two weeks from tomorrow, Mississippi voters will go to the polls for the third and final round of voting in the most extensive balloting of every four-year election cycle.
State offices from governor on down will be decided. The shape of the state Legislature will be determined. District attorneys, sheriffs, supervisors, superintendents of education, chancery and circuit clerks, tax collectors, justice court judges, coroners and constables for the next four years all will be in the hands of voters.
For those who like to vote for every office under the sun, this is your year. The Nov. 8 ballot is the longest of the local, state and federal election cycles.
It’s even longer than usual this year because three initiatives are on the ballot, the most ever in Mississippi under its two-decades old law allowing citizens to get a state constitutional amendment up for a vote by collecting a prescribed number of signatures.
Three separate amendments that would declare personhood at the moment of fertilization, require presentation of a government-issued photo ID at the polls, and prohibit governments from taking private property for use by other private interests will be approved or rejected by voters.
All of these choices, people and issues, require an informed and engaged electorate. Generally, all but the most devoted political addicts start paying attention about now to the choices ahead of us.
Over the next couple of weeks, the Daily Journal will provide our readers a continuing series of daily stories summarizing the state candidates and issues as well as key local and district races. We’ll also give other voting information to help you exercise the most fundamental responsibility of citizenship, casting a ballot.
We began our examination Sunday and today with a look at the public careers and issues stances of the two gubernatorial candidates, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, the Democratic nominee. These two men have their differences in philosophy and approach, but they have helped to raise the tone of politics in Mississippi this election cycle by demonstrating how campaigns can be conducted vigorously and in a civil manner simultaneously.
Voters clearly prefer, and our political system benefits from, campaigns that are conducted at a high level. Maybe this gubernatorial campaign can set a new pattern.
In the meantime, the candidates at all levels will be soliciting your vote in a variety of ways over the next couple of weeks, and we’ll try to do our part to assist you in sorting through the choices.