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Don't forget to vote on May 15 in Pennsylvania

May 10, 2007

As a Maryland-based newspaper, The Herald-Mail does not endorse candidates in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, although we do extensive coverage of local governments in those states.

But although we don't endorse candidates, we do support the idea that every eligible citizen should vote. And on May 15, Pennsylvania will hold a primary election that includes a dozen candidates for Franklin County Commissioner.

The field includes seven Republicans and five Democrats that primary voting will trim to two from each party. In November, the top three of the four on the ballot will form the next county commission.

If voters have learned anything in the past decade, it has been that growth, particularly residential growth, has costs that aren't necessarily covered by the new tax money it yields.

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In Franklin County, the top issues are interrelated - growth and how to handle it without allowing government to grow out of control.

It is a challenge every government in the region faces and because Pennsylvania law gives municipalities a great deal of power over land-use issues, electing candidates who are adept at persuasion and negotiation is a must.

We often hear from residents who say that they don't vote, because, they say, "One vote doesn't matter." or "They're all crooks, so why bother?"

One vote does matter, because in recent years we've seen a number of contests turn on fewer than 500 votes.

And as for the idea that all candidates are crooks, that's nonsense. Most elected officials work long hours for little pay on issues the public pays scant attention to, like the county's land-use plan, traffic and utility service.

That's why citizens go to the polls, to elect people to pay attention when the rest of us can't, to read the budget books and make the hard decisions about what must be done to keep citizens safe and make the community prosper.

Most elected officials do plenty; on May 15 it's the average citizen's turn. There is still time to inform yourself about the candidates. Please do so and vote.

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