OUR OPINION: Tuesday's vote has its consequences

By NEMS Daily Journal

The atmosphere surrounding these last few days of the primary campaign for state and county offices has been oddly different than in most of these every-four-year election cycles.
Campaign rhetoric in Mississippi has played out against the backdrop of a grave national crisis as congressional leaders struggled to find a resolution that would avert a federal government default. The campaigns going on at the state and county levels, particularly when they veer off into questionable preoccupations, can seem trivial by comparison.
But in reality the elements that make for good
governance at the state and local levels are essentially the same as at the federal level, and the choices made in Tuesday’s party primaries and subsequent steps do have consequences for individual lives and the common good.
Responsible management of public resources – otherwise known as taxpayer dollars – and the provision of adequate services to create an environment for economic growth while assisting the helpless and vulnerable are the benchmarks of effective government at any level. Roads, schools, health care, law enforcement and economic development all are heavily influenced these days by the federal government, but they start and their effectiveness can be most fully determined at the state and local levels.
That makes participation in the election cycle that begins on Tuesday not only the right but the responsibility of all Mississippians.
Some aspects of elections, while long a part of Mississippi practice, can still cause confusion among voters. While the state doesn’t require voters to register by party, you still must choose between the Democratic and Republican primaries when you go to the polls Tuesday.
Whichever choice you make, you will have the option of voting only for the candidates who are seeking that party’s nomination. You can’t cross over either tomorrow or in primary runoffs on Aug. 23.
You can, however, vote for candidates of either party, or other parties, in the November general election when the party nominees are on the ballot.
While some voters may not like this arrangement, it’s based on the premise that the primaries are party functions in which party nominees are chosen for the general election.
Over the last several weeks, the Daily Journal has devoted extensive space to campaigns and candidates in state and local elections. We hope that has been helpful in voters’ decisionmaking.
Now comes the highest privilege and responsibility of citizenship: Casting a free ballot. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Don’t bypass the chance to exercise that fundamental right.