Voting is vital; signs should be taken down after election

Readers are probably well aware that this newspaper strongly supports the democratic process — and all that it encompasses.  At this time of year, as Election Day draws near, we feel it our responsibility to urge residents of the Harlem Valley to take part in the political process and head to the polls. 

Voting, as we all must recognize, is fundamental to the functioning and survival of this great country. Regardless of your candidates of choice — Democratic or Republican or anything in between — please, make sure you cast your ballot. Your vote is your voice, and the best way to ensure that government operates in an open and fair manner. We’ve said it so many times over the years: If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. So don’t lose your opportunity to weigh in on the future of your community.

That said, we also think it’s important to mention that voters in our region should look across party lines and support the candidates they feel best address their needs. What’s so great about living in small towns and villages is that politicians govern with less regard to their party affiliations than to the real needs of their community. It’s the people, not the party, that voters elect locally. 

That’s not to say there isn’t allegiance to political parties -— of course there is. And that’s fine; after all, our political parties appeal to us for supporting issues we deem important. They serve a role, and we appreciate that. But what we appreciate even more is that our local leaders put people above politics. That’s not always the case nationally, or even on the statewide level. But get down to small town government and that’s exactly what you’ll find.

So … don’t worry about party lines this election. Focus on the individual candidate and what he or she can do for you and your community. Then, in a show of support for their willingness to step into the political realm, vote for those candidates you consider most fit.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, this year. Don’t let it pass you by without voting. It’s your duty as an American and your privilege as a person.

One more thing, we’d like to appeal to all of those who are running for office this year: Please, don’t forget to remove those election signs. Every year, without fail, signs begging for support litter state and county highways and local streets. During campaign season, they’re not a problem; in fact, they’re a great way to promote one’s candidacy. But after Election Day, win or lose, candidates need to be responsible and take down their signs.

In small communities, like those in the Harlem Valley, street corners and intersections overcrowded with election signs post elections look horrible. They’re a mess, and the signs often lay neglected and abandoned for months afterward. We feel that’s unnecessary and simply put,  wrong.

This year, we hope, the trend will end. This year, we hope, red, white and blue signs will be quickly removed and lawns will revert back to green. 

Some candidates do responsibly remove their signs, and we applaud them for doing so. Maybe, even, they can encourage their colleagues to do the same. Others, who dilly dally a little too long before taking down those signs are doing themselves no favors. Communities that have to see those signs for months on end are usually not very happy — and that is not a positive — especially if candidates have an eye on the next election season.

So, with a gentle nudge, we’d like to remind all those running for office to show a little respect to voters and clear away their election signs. We assure you, it won’t go unnoticed.