Election season is fast approaching

It seems as if there is always an election of some sort taking place.

Two years ago, the nation elected its president, as well as some state and federal officials.

Last year, West Virginia held a special election to decide on a road bond.

Now we are heading into the so-called “mid-term elections,” where the main focus will be on members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Several of those seats, including some from West Virginia will be up for grabs this year. West Virginia also will have representatives of its House of Delegates and some state Senate seats on the ballot, and local offices will include county commissions and boards of education.

Last Sunday, we published a list of all those who had filed for office, according to information available on the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

There will be quite a few options on the ballot during West Virginia’s primary election, to be held in May, and then continuing on to the general election in November.

The City of Chester will be holding its own municipal election in June, selecting the community’s next mayor, as well as members of city council and the city clerk.

Registration for those seats is taking place now.

And, for me at least, once the fun is over for this year’s elections, I get to turn around and experience again for Weirton’s municipal election in 2019.

Elections are supposed to be a central part of our society. We, the voters, make choices in who we want to govern. They are supposed to represent those who elected them; to be their voices.

That doesn’t always happen, unfortunately, but that’s where our system is great because there are opportunities to replace those individuals.

The biggest headache for many of us, though, is the seemingly unending campaign season leading up to each election.

Just because of the cycle of the numerous elections, there is almost always someone running for office. Plus, because of the nature of some of those offices, by the time they get settled into the role, they have to turn around and prepare to seek re-election (if they choose to do so).

With the constant rolling out of campaigns, for whatever level of office, it sometimes can be a little confusing as to what is going on and when.

But, it’s important we do what we can to pay attention.

This year, there is sure to be a lot of claims and promises made as part of the mid-term. The nation is angry for a variety of reasons, with those along every aspect of the political spectrum fighting for pretty much any reason one can imagine.

It’s important for the voters to keep a close eye on each candidate, hear what they are saying and then do your own research. Read up on the topics discussed. Form your own opinions. See where the candidates stand on those issues. Decide whether you feel those candidates will truly represent your interests if they were to be elected.

Elections are an important process, and we must make sure we are informed before stepping into the voting booth, or up to the machine.

It shouldn’t just be about what political party you claim, because, anymore, there are so many varying degrees of each party that none can claim to truly represent a particular group.

The next several months are going to be a rollercoaster.

There will be campaign rallies and fundraisers. We may receive visits from some high-profile individuals.

Among it all, there will be much discussion about what each individual can bring to an office, to a community, to our state, or to our nation.

I encourage each of you who are registered and eligible to vote, to take the time to do your research.

Don’t just believe what a candidate says. Don’t take everything you hear as fact.

As with any election, this can be seen as a critical time for our nation. We all need to be diligent as the season gets closer.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)