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This election matters. Don’t they all?

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This Tuesday, Nov. 7 is Election Day across the land, the day we exercise our democracy’s most sacred rite. It is the day that ordinary citizens wield their might against the ruling class, when kings and queens must answer to their subjects, when those in power beg to keep their jobs against a perennial tide of usurpers.

Or something like that.

Voting is not just a rite but also a right – patriots died on the battlefield to secure it; Southern states fought to suppress it among black voters long after the 15th Amendment was passed; women in this country were denied it (more or less) until the 19th Amendment cleared in 1920. And even today there are factions out there who have a vested interest in a populace who does not take part in our annual choosing.

These days everyone – unless you are a minor, an undocumented resident or, in several states, a convicted felon – is entitled to stand in line and cast their ballot, to give attaboys or throw the bums out.

There are more than 300,000 registered voters in Guilford County, according to the NC Board of Elections. And this year there are many contests that will directly affect all of our lives.

District Attorney Doug Henderson is up for re-election – or, more accurately is running for his office for the first time since being appointed by Gov. Mike Easley in early 2006 – against Greensboro lawyer Wendell Sawyer.

Incumbent Sheriff BJ Barnes is campaigning for his seat against a brash upstart, Berkley Blanks.

Five county commissioner seats are up for grabs, though two of them will be filled by candidates who ran unopposed.

There are three seats in the US House contested this year, four state senate elections (three of them with candidates running unopposed), six state house elections, eight judicial elections and five Guilford County School Board positions on the ballot.

We try to make sense of it all, starting on page 11, with endorsements for every election on the ballot save for a couple of real dogs. Our opinions are our own, but feel free to borrow them on Election Day.

But more than to influence, our aim is to provoke all voters to get out to their polling places on Tuesday and put their hands on the heart of our democracy, to feel it beat and its lifeblood course.

Because whether you agree with our choices or not, all of these elections, even for the office of clerk of courts and the positions on the Soil and Water Board, will have an effect on your lives and will largely direct the next few years in the county.

And if you don’t cast your vote, we like to say, then you can’t bitch about it later.

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