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Hoping for a smoother election process

By the time most of you are reading this, the Nevada Caucus is expected to be completed, and the results (fingers crossed) will be known.

Nevada is the third state — following Iowa and New Hampshire — in the election schedule as our nation gets into the process of selecting its president, as well as many other officials.

It’s pretty much assumed that President Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. There aren’t really many candidates on the Republican side being taken seriously, and some states have even canceled their Republican primaries as a result.

That is why so much focus on the election falls to the Democratic ticket. However, it’s still anyone’s game at this point.

The Iowa Caucus was, and still is, a disaster, after new technology rolled out for the election didn’t work the way it was anticipated. Several weeks later, and there still is no clear-cut winner from the contest even if delegates have been declared.

New Hampshire’s primary ended with Bernie Sanders at 25.7 percent of the Democratic vote, and Pete Buttigieg at 24.4 percent; both with nine convention delegates pledged to them. That’s, more of less, a tie. The third-place finisher was Amy Klobuchar, with 19.8 percent, and Elizabeth Warren, from nearby Massachusetts, received 9.2 percent.

So, Saturday’s results in Nevada were expected to give us a little more vision of what the voters are thinking after around a year of unofficial campaigning and several debates. This will be followed by the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, and then “Super Tuesday” on March 3, where more than 1,300 delegates from 14 states will be up for grabs.

This is a long and tiring process, but it’s an important one. If you are an American and eligible to vote, I would hope you would participate in this process, though, because we are all responsible for deciding the direction we go (even if those we elect don’t always listen to the voters).

The tough part, for me, is that West Virginia is among the last states to conduct its primary election. Unfortunately for us, by the time we step up to the ballot box, the nominees for the two major parties usually are pretty well tied up.

In 2016, it was known, mathematically at least, weeks beforehand that Donald Trump would be the Republican candidate and Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic candidate. Bernie Sanders was still on the ballot, but enough convention delegates had pledged for Clinton that it really didn’t matter by that point.

But that shouldn’t discourage us from voting. It also shouldn’t prevent us from educating ourselves on the candidates. We have the freedom in this country to vote for whichever candidate we feel best represents us, our hopes and our values. Forget about the political affiliation for just a little bit and listen to what everyone on the ballot says. Also, pay attention to what they do. Look at their history. Hear what they promise for the years ahead and learn if any of it is actually possible or if it is just more campaign prattle.

We are going to be hearing a lot of talk in the next couple of months. Some of it will be true. Some of it won’t. We have to decide what we believe, though, and we have to decide who we want speaking for us and our nation.

Will it be some ultra-rich older white man who really has no idea what most of our lives are like? Will it be someone who promises us the sun and the moon even though, realistically, it can’t be done? Will it be someone we hadn’t heard of until about nine months ago?

It up to us.

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