For quite a few people, they've long had their minds made up that they are going to cast a ballot — enthusiastically — for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. Nothing that has been said, discovered, debated or reported over the past few days, weeks or months is going to change that. Perhaps it's party loyalty or ideology, or perhaps they just believe one of the two major party candidates is the best choice to lead our country.
Others who are undecided — and we believe there are many that don't like what either candidate brings to the table — may hold their nose in the voting booth and pick the one they can most stomach or simply vote the opposite of the one they can stomach least.
Both Trump and Clinton are rife with flaws, and it may not be hyperbole to call these two the most disliked, untrustworthy candidates to ever run for president. For that reason, many voters may decide to stay home on Election Day and not cast a ballot. That might be the worst thing you could do.
No matter how frustrated, disgusted or outraged you may be with presidential politics, it is still imperative to vote, whether during the early voting period that begins Thursday, Oct. 27 through Nov. 3 in Maryland, or on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 8, because of the significance of races further down the ballot.
One of the more intriguing "down ballot" races in Maryland is choosing between Republican Kathy Szeliga and Democrat Chris Van Hollen to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski in Washington, D.C. Voters in the state's eight congressional districts will also choose their representatives, with Carroll County voters in the north choosing between incumbent Andy Harris, a Republican, or Joe Werner, a Democrat, for District 1, and those from Westminster to the southern border picking a new representative for District 8 between Dan Cox, a Republican, and current state Sen. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat.
Locally, there may not be a more important election for Carroll residents than the seating of two new members to the nonpartisan Board of Education. Four candidates — Marsha Herbert, a retired physical education teacher from Westminster; Julie Kingsley, a Howard County math teacher from Mount Airy; Mary Kowalski, a former instructional assistant from Westminster; and Donna Sivigny, an actuary from Finksburg — have all taken a keen interest in helping CCPS be the best school system it can be after a tumultuous year that saw three schools closed as a result of systemwide enrollment declines and continued struggles with anticipated funding gaps in future years.
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Then there are two ballot questions, one where statewide voters will determine how a comptroller or attorney general who cannot complete his or her term will be replaced, and in Carroll, whether BOE members should be limited to two consecutive four-year terms.
Later this week, the Carroll County Times will endorse its positions on these ballot questions, candidates for U.S. Senate and representatives in Congress, and the Board of Education. After much debate, the Times' editorial board has decided we cannot endorse either major party candidate for president of the United States, as we have innumerable concerns about both, too many to list in this space.
However, do not take our lack of endorsement for president as encouragement to sit out the election. Whether you vote your conscience for president, pick a third-party candidate, lodge a protest vote by writing in the name of a fictitious character or leave your choice for president blank, we encourage you to go to the polls and fulfill your civic duty during early voting or on Nov. 8, especially in these down ballot races.
Tuesday: Ballot questions 1 and 2
Wednesday: U.S. Senate and representative in Congress
Thursday: Carroll County Board of Education