Take the time to cast your vote Tuesday

Tuesday will be a big day.

It is the day of West Virginia’s primary election, and, as I always do, I am encouraging our readers who are registered to vote to visit their local polling location and cast their ballot.

There has been a great deal of attention paid to the U.S. Senate race in West Virginia, with a field of six Republicans facing off for the nod to try and unseat U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin in the fall.

There also are some local races of importance. Both Hancock and Brooke counties have elections for their respective school boards and county commissions.

The board of education races will be determined on Tuesday, with the terms to begin July 1.

The commission races will set the final lineup for November.

There also is an election for family court judge, the renewal of the Hancock County Library Levy, various political executive committee posts and a county conservation officer.

State legislative seats, while contested this year and on the ballot Tuesday, will have all candidates move on to the November general election. That’s why there hasn’t been much coverage to date.

Some already have cast their vote as part of the state’s early voting period,.

According to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, there were 431 Brooke County residents and 410 Hancock County residents, as of Friday morning, who made use of the early voting period.

Saturday was the final day, and I’m sure the state will release final numbers sometime Monday.

Those numbers are pretty well in line with the 2016 election, which means there should be a steady number of voters heading to the polls Tuesday.

As with anyone else, I have my own political views, but I try not to espouse them on these pages.

My thoughts are it is more important to encourage you to vote than to try and convince you which way to vote.

My hope is that by now, you have done your research into all of the candidates appearing on the ballot and already have made your decision.

There has been a lot said by the candidates in recent months. You’ve probably seen a few television advertisements, and I know there are signs placed along many of our local roads.

We’ve had a few articles here and there, discussing the backgrounds of some candidates and even covering visits by a few to our area.

It’s good to listen to what they say, but you also should make certain to look at other sources of information.

Candidates tend to tell you only the good things about themselves and the bad things about their opponents. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle, and there’s a lot to go over as election day gets closer.

I encourage you, before you cast your ballot, make certain you have done your research. Look beyond the fluff and see where these individuals stand on the issues.

Those who already hold office have voting records, which are readily available through public records of either Congress or the state Legislature. If a bill has been passed more recently, you’ll probably even be able to find it on the body’s website, along with a list of voters.

Other candidates who do not currently hold office have probably said or done something about the issues in the past. Check to see if you can find any records.

It is important to know what you are getting with each candidate. That way you aren’t surprised if they get elected.

For those who might need a reminder of the candidates, we’ll be including a listing of everyone in our Monday edition. There are plans also to include a list of polling locations in the event your are unsure where you need to be.

As registered voters, it is our duty and responsibility to express ourselves through the ballot.

We also are responsible for making certain we are casting an educated vote.

So, if you haven’t already, I hope each of you take the time between now and Tuesday to learn as much as you can about the candidates and issues, and then cast an educated vote for your future.

(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)