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The election differences are continuing

We’re now about three months away from the general election.

A great deal of attention, and rightly so, is being paid to the presidential race between incument Donald Trup and anticipated challenger Joe Biden. Remember neither of those candidates become official until their respective party conventions, which appear to be heading more toward virtual events than the large party-like atmosphere of years past.

The continuing virus has put everyone into a state of adjustment, and that includes the political races taking place this year.

That also means it makes it even more important for us, the voters, to make sure we educate ourselves about what is going on before we cast our votes.

The ballots will be smaller in November than during the primary election, but the choices listed are just as important, probably moreso when you think about what has been going on in recent months.

Most of our local races were determined in the primary election; however, there are still a few — county commissioners, for example — which will appear on the ballot. That leaves the state campaigns to take up a great deal of our focus in the coming weeks.

All elections are important, of course, and West Virginia’s gubernatorial election will have major consequences for the future of our state.

Much as in the spring, this will be a different kind of election, and it’s important for all of us to be informed as to how it is being handled. Apparently, mail-in ballots will be available for everyone, but it appears we, as the voters, will have to make the effort to get them this time around, instead of being mailed an application form as during the primary.

The campaigning itself also will continue to be different. Candidates weren’t able to do much as far as getting out to meet the people in the spring. Some held “honk and wave” events in an effort to at least visit different parts of the state, but many relied on virtual meetings to get their message across.

The governor’s race has been sitting at a bit of a simmer since June, but began heating up this past week, especially when it came to the community of Gary, W.Va. The town has been facing problems with its water system, and that became a focal point of the battle as challenger Ben Salango delivered a large amount of cases of bottled water, while insinuating Gov. Jim Justice had done little to help the community.

I imagine the two will continue to find ways to take shots at each other. That happens with any campaign, but how are they going to talk to the voters?

Salango has made visits to some areas of the state. On Friday, he also held a virtual press briefing. I imagine those will continue.

As for the governor, his regular COVID press briefings, essentially, are free opportunities to reach the voters.

There has been discussion of debates between the two, with Salango, on Friday, agreeing to a series of five appearances. Some of those would be aired on local television stations, in an effort to ensure as much of the state as possible could watch.

As of the time I’m writing this, Justice had not announced whether he had agreed to all five.

The debates, if they happen, will be different as well. I doubt there will be a live audience, at least not as large as there traditionally is.

Whatever form any of the campaigns for office take, the important thing continues to be for the voters to pay attention. Don’t get distracted by the problems going on in the world. Look closely at what is being said and done by those seeking office. Look at their histories. See whether their message has changed on a variety of topics, and why.

It is truly going to be up to each voter to make the effort this election. Information is probably not going to just be handed to you. Learn what issues currently are facing your community, your state and the nation.

Educate yourself, and then make sure to get out and make your vote count.

(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)

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